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.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

Justices May Not Disturb Status Quo When It Comes To Sales Tax For Online Purchases

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/603352031/603352032" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A person in Miami searches the Internet for sales. A case relating to whether all Internet purchases will be subject to sales taxes is heard Tuesday at the U.S. Supreme Court. Wilfredo Lee/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Wilfredo Lee/AP

Will You Soon Have To Pay Sales Tax On Every Online Purchase?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/603093440/603093444" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, shares a laugh with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during a discussion at the conservative Hudson Institute. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump Pardons 'Scooter' Libby, Former Cheney Chief Of Staff

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/602209933/602339414" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

During Her Confirmation Hearing To Be A Federal Judge, Wendy Vitter Faces Tough Questions

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/601630179/601630182" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Wendy Vitter, with her husband, David Vitter, after he was reelected to the Senate in 2010 despite being linked to the "D.C. Madam" scandal. Wendy Vitter is now nominated for a judgeship. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Patrick Semansky/AP

Judicial Nominee Wendy Vitter Gets Tough Questions On Birth Control And Abortion

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/601323110/601419994" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaks at a civics event in January in Seattle. Sotomayor wrote a scathing dissent about police shootings Monday. Elaine Thompson/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Elaine Thompson/AP

Police Shootings Stir Outrage Among Some, But Not The Supreme Court

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/599009640/599240816" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Frustration Seems To Reign As Justices Hear Case Challenging Extreme Gerrymandering

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/597750686/597750687" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Hilary Fung/NPR

Frustrated Supreme Court Looks For A Solution To Partisan Gerrymandering

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/596220408/597541690" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Justices Skeptical About California Law Being Challenged By Anti-Abortion Clinics

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/595344987/595344988" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript