Nina Totenberg Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent.
Asa Mathat
Nina Totenberg
Asa Mathat

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. Newsweek says, "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, among them: 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 a number of honorary degrees. On a lighter note, in 1992 and 1988 Esquire magazine named her one of the "Women We Love".

A frequent contributor to major newspapers and periodicals, she has published articles in The New York Times Magazine, The Harvard Law Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Parade Magazine, New York Magazine, and others.

Before joining NPR in 1975, Totenberg served as Washington editor of New Times Magazine, and before that she was the legal affairs correspondent for the National Observer.

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Story Archive

Joseph and Maria Caruso vote inside the Early Vote Center in downtown Minneapolis on Oct. 5, 2016. The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a Minnesota law that prohibited voters from wearing politically themed items inside polling places. Stephen Maturen/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Stephen Maturen/AFP/Getty Images

Supreme Court Delivers TKO Win On Political Apparel Ban

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, seen here leaving the Capitol in May, expressed his dissatisfaction Wednesday with a report on sexual harassment in the federal judiciary. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sen. Grassley Says Report On Sexual Harassment In Judiciary Simply Kicks The Can

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Supreme Court Rules That Ohio May Purge Voters From Registration Rolls

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People rally outside of the Supreme Court in opposition to Ohio's voter roll purges in January. The court upheld the controversial law Monday. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption

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Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Supreme Court Upholds Controversial Ohio Voter-Purge Law

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Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono may have a quiet demeanor, but that shouldn't be confused for a lack of toughness. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

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The Quiet Rage Of Mazie Hirono

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2 Big Decisions From The Supreme Court

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Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cake, is hugged by a supporter after a rally on the campus of a Christian college in November. David Zalubowski/AP hide caption

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In Narrow Opinion, Supreme Court Rules For Baker In Gay-Rights Case

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Supreme Court Declines To Hear Challenge To Arkansas Abortion Law

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The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal to an Arkansas law that would make it illegal to have a medication-induced abortion. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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Supreme Court Leaves In Place Law That Effectively Bans Abortion By Pill — For Now

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The Supreme Court has ruled previously that police cannot search the private area around a house without a warrant, but the question here was whether the warrant requirement applied to motor vehicles parked within that area. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call hide caption

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In Win For Privacy Rights, Court Says Police Need Warrant To Search Area Around Home

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Supreme Court Breaks Ground With Workers' Rights Ruling

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People wait in line to enter the U.S. Supreme Court last month. The court sided with businesses on not allowing class-action lawsuits for federal labor violations. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Supreme Court Decision Delivers Blow To Workers' Rights

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, (right) prepare to talk to reporters following the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on May 15, 2018. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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The War Over Confirming Federal Judges Is Heating Up — Again

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