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

Justice Samuel Alito, seen here in 2007, has emerged as the workhorse of the Supreme Court's conservatives and has spent his time on the court forcefully shaping its opinions. Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images hide caption

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Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images

Samuel Alito, a workhorse on the Supreme Court, shapes its conservative path

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The U.S. Supreme Court term in review

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As The Supreme Court Ends Its Term, The Christian Nationalist Right Keeps Winning

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The Supreme Court rules the EPA can't set CO2 limits for existing power plants

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The independent state legislature theory was first invoked by three conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices in the celebrated Bush v. Gore case that handed the 2000 election victory to George W. Bush. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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The U.S. Supreme Court curbed the EPA's ability to fight climate change. Al Drago/Getty Images hide caption

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Supreme Court restricts the EPA's authority to mandate carbon emissions reductions

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The Supreme Court still has 2 opinions to announce before the term ends

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Supreme Court hands defeat to Native American Tribes in Oklahoma

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Supreme Court backs a high school football coach's right to pray on the 50-yard line

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The parties included this image, of Coach Kennedy praying with a crowd after the homecoming game, in their joint appendix submitted to the Supreme Court Court Filings hide caption

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Court Filings

Supreme Court backs a high school coach's right to pray on the 50-yard line

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The Supreme Court is at its most conservative now from the last 75 years

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Anti-abortion activists rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 6. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

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Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending right to abortion upheld for decades

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