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 U.S. Supreme Court appears ready to end the right to an abortion

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This artist sketch depicts Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart, standing while speaking to the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Center for Reproductive Rights Litigation Director Julie Rikelman is seated right. Dana Verkouteren/AP hide caption

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Dana Verkouteren/AP

Roe v. Wade's future is in doubt after historic arguments at Supreme Court

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The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case from Mississippi that could reverse the court's nearly half-century-old Roe v. Wade decision. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Supreme Court considers whether to reverse Roe v. Wade

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The future of abortion, always a contentious issue, is up at the Supreme Court on Dec. 1. Arguments are planned challenging Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court's major decisions over the last half-century that guarantee a woman's right to an abortion nationwide. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

As the Supreme Court considers Roe v. Wade, a look at how abortion became legal

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Supreme Court conservatives are skeptical on spiritual advisers in death chamber

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The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case centered on the FBI's surveillance of mosques after 9/11. Jose Luis Magana/AP hide caption

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Jose Luis Magana/AP

Supreme Court to hear arguments on FBI's surveillance of mosques

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Gun violence survivors hold their banners during a rally Wednesday outside of the U.S. Supreme Court. The court heard arguments in a gun rights case that centers on New York's restrictive gun permit law. Jose Luis Magana/AP hide caption

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Jose Luis Magana/AP

Supreme Court appears skeptical of New York's restrictive gun control law

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The Supreme Court will hear its first major gun case since 2008. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Gun rights are back at the Supreme Court for the first time in more than a decade

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Supreme Court May Allow A Challenge To Texas Abortion Restrictions To Move Forward

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Jose Luis Magana/AP

At Supreme Court, an obstreperous school board member meets a censorious board

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