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)
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Nina Totenberg

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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. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller "Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships."

A frequent contributor on TV shows, Totenberg 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. On a lighter note, Esquire magazine twice named her one of the "Women We Love."

Story Archive

Thursday

Wednesday

The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case examining a federal-state conflict over emergency abortions. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

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Heated arguments at the Supreme Court in newest abortion case

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Supreme Court looks at Idaho abortion ban when a woman's health is in imminent danger

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The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case from Idaho that centers on abortion rights. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

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Supreme Court to examine a federal-state conflict over emergency abortions

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Wednesday

Tuesday

Supreme Court hears challenge to a statute used to try hundreds of Jan. 6 rioters

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The Supreme Court will review part of a federal obstruction law that has been used to prosecute some of those individuals involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

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Supreme Court hears challenge to law used to prosecute hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants

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Monday

Tuesday

Justices seem skeptical of challenge to restrict access to abortion pill

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Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 16, 2022. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

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Supreme Court seems doubtful of challenge to abortion pill

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The Supreme Court of the United States building is seen in Washington, D.C., on March 15, 2024. Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images hide caption

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A Supreme Court abortion pill case with potential consequences for every other drug

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Monday

Supreme Court tackles social media and free speech

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The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday on the role of the First Amendment in the internet age. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

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Supreme Court examines whether government can combat disinformation online

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Friday

SCOTUS says public officials have the right to block on social media

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Monday

SCOTUS rules unanimously in favor of Trump but differ on scope of decision

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Supreme Court restores Trump to Colorado primary ballot, rules on state powers

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Thursday

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to hear arguments in April about whether former President Trump enjoys blanket immunity. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

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Will the timing of the Supreme Court's Trump case mean no trial before the election?

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The Supreme Court will hear Trump's immunity claim. The implications are vast

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Wednesday

The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 14. Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Supreme Court to hear arguments in Trump immunity case in April

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The U.S. Supreme Court Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

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Supreme Court seems torn over bump stock ban

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