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)
Stories By

Nina Totenberg

Allison Shelley/NPR
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.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

Crime-scene tape surrounds the home of federal Judge Esther Salas in North Brunswick, N.J., on July 20. A gunman shot and killed Salas' 20-year-old son and wounded her husband. Mark Lennihan/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Mark Lennihan/AP

An Attacker Killed A Judge's Son. Now She Wants To Protect Other Families

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/936717194/937011172" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Judge Esther Salas Remembers The Night Of Assailant's Attack On Her Family

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/936783691/936783692" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Alex Brandon/AP

House Hints It May Drop Supreme Court Case Seeking Mueller Grand Jury Info

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/935914833/936096389" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A demonstrator holds a sign in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard arguments over the Affordable Care Act Tuesday. Alex Brandon/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Alex Brandon/AP

Supreme Court Appears Likely To Uphold Obamacare

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/933462515/933548782" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Supreme Court considers the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

toggle caption
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Will Supreme Court Invalidate Obamacare A Decade After It Was Enacted?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/932441334/933343148" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The 2000 presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush ended up at the Supreme Court. Experts say that's unlikely to happen this time. Robert F. Bukaty/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Robert F. Bukaty/AP

The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that pit religious freedom against LGBTQ rights. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

toggle caption
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

At Supreme Court, Justices Consider Religion, LGBTQ Rights

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/931344671/931436056" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that pits the City of Philadelphia against Catholic Social Services. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

toggle caption
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Faith, LGBTQ Rights Collide At Supreme Court

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/929628380/931223886" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Amy Coney Barrett testifies during her confirmation hearings last month. The new justice heard her first arguments Monday as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP hide caption

toggle caption
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Patrick Semansky/AP

Supreme Court Allows Ballot Extensions In Pennsylvania, North Carolina, For Now

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/928890290/929022568" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. administers the judicial oath to Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Barrett's husband, Jesse, holds the Bible. Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States hide caption

toggle caption
Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Senate Democrats speak Oct. 12 after a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee. They have announced they will boycott Thursday's scheduled committee vote on Barrett. Stefani Reynolds/Pool via AP hide caption

toggle caption
Stefani Reynolds/Pool via AP

What Is Amy Coney Barrett's Stance On Issues That Often Arise Before Supreme Court?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/923377282/923377283" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript