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

Supreme Court Appears Divided Over Ohio's 'Use-It Or Lose-It' Voter Registration Rule

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Voters cast their ballots in Salem, Ohio, on Nov. 8, 2016. On Wednesday the Supreme Court hears a case about Ohio's voter registration policy. Ty Wright/Getty Images hide caption

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Ty Wright/Getty Images

In Key Voting-Rights Case, Court Appears Divided Over Ohio's 'Use It Or Lose It' Rule

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Los Angeles Police inspect a vehicle parked in the same neighborhood as a crime scene in 2012. The Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday regarding when police can search a vehicle without a warrant. Jason Redmond/AP hide caption

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Jason Redmond/AP

In 1968, Mary Beth Tinker and her brother, John, display two black armbands they used to protest the Vietnam War at school. Bettmann Archive via Getty Images hide caption

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Bettmann Archive via Getty Images

Students Identify With 50-Year-Old Supreme Court Case

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Then-Federal Election Commissioner Matthew Petersen testifies during a hearing before the Elections Subcommittee of House Committee on House Administration on November 3, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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3 Trump Judicial Nominees Withdraw, Raising Some Questions About Vetting

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Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has been accused of sexual harassment. An inquiry into the allegations has been transferred to the 2nd Circuit. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday as the justices heard arguments in a case about a Colorado baker who refused to create a cake for a same-sex wedding, citing moral objection. Sam Gringlas/NPR hide caption

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Sam Gringlas/NPR

Supreme Court Seems Split In Case Of Baker Vs. Same-Sex Couple; Eyes Now On Kennedy

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie answers questions about a sports gambling case after Supreme Court arguments on Monday. Emily Kan/NPR hide caption

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Emily Kan/NPR

Odds Drop On Sports-Betting Ban As Supreme Court Hears New Jersey Case

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Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., is one of the bakers who does not want to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples, saying it violates his religious beliefs. Matthew Staver/The Washington Post/Getty Images hide caption

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Matthew Staver/The Washington Post/Getty Images

A Supreme Court Clash Between Artistry And The Rights Of Gay Couples

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New York Knicks player Bill Bradley is shown in New York City in Oct. 1970. AP hide caption

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New Jersey Takes On Major Professional Sports Leagues In Sports Betting Case

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Supreme Court Hears Case On Cellphone Location Information

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Supreme Court Considers Cellphones And Digital Privacy

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