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

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The U.S. Supreme Court Monday declined to hear a case challenging Washington state's ban on conversion therapy of minors. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images hide caption

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Tuesday

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in an important tax case. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Supreme Court seems inclined to leave major offshore tax in place on investors

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The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in an important tax case. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Supreme Court hears a case that experts say could wreak havoc on the tax code

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Monday

The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a challenge to a deal to compensate victims of the opioid epidemic that shield the Sackler family from lawsuits. Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images

It's money v. principle in Supreme Court opioid case

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The Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a challenge to the deal meant to compensate victims of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images hide caption

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Purdue Pharma, Sacklers' OxyContin settlement lands at the Supreme Court

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Friday

Sandra Day O'Connor being sworn in on Sept. 9, 1981. Justice O'Connor was the first female supreme court justice. She died at XX. Wally McNamee/Corbis hide caption

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Wally McNamee/Corbis

Sandra Day O'Connor, first woman on the Supreme Court, dies

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Wednesday

People walk past the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Supreme Court conservatives seem likely to axe SEC enforcement powers

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Tuesday

The Jan. 6 Case Against Donald Trump is Taking Shape

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Thursday

Monday

The Supreme Court is now adopting a code of ethics for justices

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Members of the Supreme Court sit for a group portrait following the addition of Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson last October. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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The Supreme Court adopts first-ever code of ethics

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Tuesday

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court appeared likely to uphold a law that bans gun possession for anyone covered by a domestic violence court order. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

High court seems likely to uphold law banning guns for accused domestic abusers

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The U.S. Supreme Court hears argument Tuesday in yet another gun-rights case. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Supreme Court to decide if gun bans for domestic abusers are constitutional

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Saturday

The Supreme Court will hear a case on protecting domestic violence victims from guns

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Wednesday

A man wants to trademark 'Trump too small.' The case has made it to the Supreme Court

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Tuesday

The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case where two local school board members in Poway, Calif., blocked two persistently critical parents from their social media pages. Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on the fate of the block button for public officials

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The Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday that test the ability of public officials to block critics from their personal social media pages. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Can public officials block you on social media? It's up to the Supreme Court

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Wednesday

Government watchdog Accountable.US launches a campaign to call for recusals from allegedly conflicted Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas on Oct. 2, 2023. Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Accountable.US hide caption

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Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Accountable.US