Nina Totenberg

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. Newsweek says, "The mainstays [of NPR] are Morning Edition and All Things Considered. But the creme de la creme is Nina Totenberg." She is also a regular panelist on Inside Washington, a weekly syndicated public affairs television program produced in the nation's capital.

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, among them: 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 a number of honorary degrees. On a lighter note, in 1992 and 1988 Esquire magazine named her one of the "Women We Love".

A frequent contributor to major newspapers and periodicals, she has published articles in The New York Times Magazine, The Harvard Law Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Parade Magazine, New York Magazine, and others.

Before joining NPR in 1975, Totenberg served as Washington editor of New Times Magazine, and before that she was the legal affairs correspondent for the National Observer.

Pages

Law
8:09 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Supreme Court Deals A Blow To Public Employee Unions

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 7:30 am

Public employee unions suffered a major defeat at the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, with worse probably to come soon.

The court's 5-4 decision will in the short run undercut the financing for some public employee unions by allowing people who don't join the union and don't pay any fees to get the same benefits as those who do pay union dues.

Read more
Law
4:03 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

High Court Allows Some Companies To Opt Out Of Contraceptives Mandate

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:07 pm

For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a for-profit corporation can refuse to comply with a general government mandate because doing so would violate the corporation's asserted religious beliefs.

By a 5-4 vote, the court struck an important part of President Obama's health care law — the requirement that all insurance plans cover birth control — because it conflicted with a corporation owners' religious beliefs.

Read more
Law
12:32 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Supreme Court Ruling Affirms Hobby Lobby Victory

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Law
4:10 am
Fri June 27, 2014

High Court Strikes Down Abortion Clinic 'Buffer Zone' Law

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 6:59 am

The Supreme Court eased restrictions on protesters at clinics that perform abortions. The court invalidated a Massachusetts law that created a 35 foot buffer outside abortion clinics in the state.

Law
3:20 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Takeaways From Supreme Court Rulings On Buffer Zones, Recess Picks

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 12:19 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court issued two major rulings on Thursday: one that narrows protections for patients and employees outside abortion clinics, and another that narrows the president's power to fill top government positions temporarily without the Senate's consent.

Both rulings were technically unanimous because all nine justices agreed on the bottom-line outcome, but in fact both were 5-to-4 rulings with fiery disagreements expressed by the minority.

Here are summaries of the two cases and the arguments for and against them.

Read more
Law
1:19 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Supreme Court Rules On Obama Appointments, Abortion Protests

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Supreme Court has issued rulings in two controversial cases. The court invalidated several appointments President Obama made while the Senate was in recess, or appeared to be, anyway. And the court also limited the power of a state to define buffer zones around abortion clinics. A lot to talk about here, let's dive right in with NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. Hi, Nina.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: Hi.

INSKEEP: OK, so these decisions appear to be, to you, anyway, compromises - why is that?

Read more
Law
3:15 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

High Court Ruling On Search Warrants Is Broader Than Cellphones

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 8:30 pm

Bold. Landmark. Sweeping. Those were the words experts on all sides used Wednesday to describe the U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous ruling that police must obtain a warrant before searching a cellphone at the time of an arrest.

The decision came in two cases where law enforcement used information obtained from a cellphone without a warrant to win a conviction.

Writing for the unanimous court, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cellphone at the time of an arrest is "simple — get a warrant."

Read more
Law
11:48 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Supreme Court Rules On Aereo, Cellphone Searches

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Law
3:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

EPA Gets A Win From Supreme Court On Global Warming Emissions — Mostly

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 7:07 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court gave the Environmental Protection Agency the green light to regulate greenhouse gases that are emitted from new and modified utility plants and factories on Monday.

Greenhouse gases are blamed for global warming, and the court's 7-2 decision gave the EPA most of what it wanted. But in a separate 5-4 vote, the justices rejected the agency's broad assertion of regulatory power under one section of the Clean Air Act.

Read more
Law
3:12 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

From Supreme Court, Firm Support For Employee In Retaliation Case

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 7:20 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that public employees cannot be fired in retaliation for testifying truthfully on matters of public corruption or public concern. The unanimous decision came in the case of Edward Lane, who was fired after he testified that an Alabama state legislator was a no-show employee being paid by the taxpayers for no work.

Read more

Pages