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. 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.

Story Archive

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Supreme Court paves the way for release of Trump's tax returns to a House panel

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Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, claimed that the limited request for her phone records, served on her service provider T-Mobile, was a violation of the First Amendment. Brandon Bell/Getty Images hide caption

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Supreme Court struggles with a case dealing with the rights of Native American Tribes

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Supreme Court hears arguments challenging the Indian Child Welfare Act

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The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing Wednesday a challenge from Texas and several families who have adopted Native American children who are challenging the Indian Child Welfare Act. Samuel Corum/Getty Images hide caption

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Supreme Court considers fate of landmark Indian adoption law

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Sen. Lindsey Graham must testify before a grand jury in Georgia

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The Supreme Court said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. must testify before a Georgia grand jury. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images hide caption

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The U.S. Supreme Court Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Supreme Court's conservatives are openly hostile to affirmative action in admissions

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The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on the use of race in college admissions. Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Can race play a role in college admissions? The Supreme Court hears the arguments

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U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation in Simi Valley, Calif., on April 4, 2022. Damian Dovarganes/AP hide caption

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The Supreme Court hears pork industry's case against an animal welfare law

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A portrait of Prince taken by Lynn Goldsmith (left) in 1981 and 16 silk-screened images Andy Warhol later created using the photo as a reference. A federal district court judge found that Warhol's series is "transformative" because it conveys a different message from the original, and thus is fair use. A Second Circuit Court of Appeals panel disagreed. Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States hide caption

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Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States