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

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Dec. 1 in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which has the potential to pose a serious challenge to Roe v. Wade. J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Solicitor General Nominee Elizabeth Prelogar May Be Heading For A Speedy Confirmation

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Justice Stephen Breyer welcomes the resumption of in-person oral arguments at the high court this fall. Elizabeth Gillis/NPR hide caption

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Breyer Warns Against Remaking The Court: 'What Goes Around Comes Around'

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Justice Breyer Says Supreme Court Upholding Texas Abortion Ban Was 'Very, Very Wrong'

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Progressives want Justice Stephen Breyer to step down while Democrats still narrowly control the Senate and before the 2022 midterms, when control of the chamber is at stake. Elizabeth Gillis/NPR hide caption

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Elizabeth Gillis/NPR

A deeply divided Supreme Court is allowing a Texas law that bans most abortions to remain in force, stripping women of the right to an abortion in most cases in the nation's second-largest state. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

How The Supreme Court Reached The Decision To Uphold Texas' Law Restricting Abortion

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Supreme Court Upholds New Texas Abortion Law, For Now

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Since John Roberts became chief justice in 2005, the Supreme Court has on average decided just under 10% of its cases by polarized 5-4 votes. This term, that percentage went up, with the court's new conservative supermajority winning 15% of cases by a polarized vote of 6-3, plus an additional 4% decided by a conservative 5-4 majority. Erin Schaff/AP hide caption

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Erin Schaff/AP