Nina Totenberg Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent.
Nina Totenberg at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)
Stories By

Nina Totenberg

Allison Shelley/NPR
Nina Totenberg at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)
Allison Shelley/NPR

Nina Totenberg

Correspondent, Legal Affairs

Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.

Totenberg's coverage of the Supreme Court and legal affairs has won her widespread recognition. She is often featured in documentaries — most recently RBG — that deal with issues before the court. As Newsweek put it, "The mainstays [of NPR] are Morning Edition and All Things Considered. But the creme de la creme is Nina Totenberg."

In 1991, her ground-breaking report about University of Oklahoma Law Professor Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment by Judge Clarence Thomas led the Senate Judiciary Committee to re-open Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation hearings to consider Hill's charges. NPR received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for its gavel-to-gavel coverage — anchored by Totenberg — of both the original hearings and the inquiry into Anita Hill's allegations, and for Totenberg's reports and exclusive interview with Hill.

That same coverage earned Totenberg additional awards, including the Long Island University George Polk Award for excellence in journalism; the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting; the Carr Van Anda Award from the Scripps School of Journalism; and the prestigious Joan S. Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based national affairs/public policy reporting, which also acknowledged her coverage of Justice Thurgood Marshall's retirement.

Totenberg was named Broadcaster of the Year and honored with the 1998 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the National Press Foundation. She is the first radio journalist to receive the award. She is also the recipient of the American Judicature Society's first-ever award honoring a career body of work in the field of journalism and the law. In 1988, Totenberg won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her coverage of Supreme Court nominations. The jurors of the award stated, "Ms. Totenberg broke the story of Judge (Douglas) Ginsburg's use of marijuana, raising issues of changing social values and credibility with careful perspective under deadline pressure."

Totenberg has been honored seven times by the American Bar Association for continued excellence in legal reporting and has received more than two dozen honorary degrees. On a lighter note, Esquire magazine twice named her one of the "Women We Love."

A frequent contributor on TV shows, she has also written for major newspapers and periodicals — among them, The New York Times Magazine, The Harvard Law Review, The Christian Science Monitor, and New York Magazine, and others.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

The president swiftly responded to the Supreme Court rulings on Twitter saying the legal battle, which has not been put to rest, is "not fair to this Presidency or Administration!" J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

toggle caption
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Supreme Court Says Trump Not 'Immune' From Records Release, But Hedges On House Case

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/884447882/889502218" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Supreme Court Upholds Challenges To Access To Birth Control

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/888919622/889288263" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Wednesday's decision seems to be an extension of a 2012 ruling in which the Supreme Court unanimously found that a fourth-grade teacher at a Lutheran school who was commissioned as a minister could not sue over her firing. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

toggle caption
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Justices Rule Teachers At Religious Schools Aren't Protected By Fair Employment Laws

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/885172035/889227893" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Supreme Court Upholds State 'Faithless Elector' Laws

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/887617201/887651778" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Supreme Court decides that Electoral College delegates have "no ground for reversing" the statewide popular vote. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Susan Walsh/AP

Supreme Court Rules State 'Faithless Elector' Laws Constitutional

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/885168480/888013918" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Supreme Court Rules Montana Religious Schools Can Receive Funding

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/885227146/885262708" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Andrew Harnik/AP

Supreme Court: Montana Can't Exclude Religious Schools From Scholarship Program

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/883074890/885772325" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Supreme Court Hands Abortion-Rights Advocates A Victory

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/884632161/884638888" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Mark Sherman/AP

Supreme Court Hands Abortion-Rights Advocates A Victory In Louisiana Case

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/874458692/885015663" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Supreme Court Sides With Trump Administration In Asylum Cases

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/883312496/883660123" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript