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.

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4:18pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Law

Supreme Court Weighs Legality Of Strip Searches

The United States Supreme Court wrestled on Wednesday with a case testing whether some 700,000 people arrested each year on minor charges can be subject to automatic strip searches when taken to jail. Specifically, the issue the justices grappled with was whether jail authorities need some reasonable suspicion to conduct that kind of a search.

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10:01pm

Tue October 11, 2011
Law

Should Minor Offenders Be Subject To Strip Searches?

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 3:14 pm

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court hears arguments for a case testing whether prison guards may constitutionally strip search even minor traffic offenders when they are arrested and taken to jail.

iStockphoto.com

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case testing whether prison guards may constitutionally strip-search even minor traffic offenders when they are arrested and taken to jail.

For decades, most courts did not allow such blanket strip searches, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way.

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10:01pm

Mon October 10, 2011
Law

Thomas Confirmation Hearings Had Ripple Effect

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:20 am

Clarence Thomas took his oath of office on Oct. 23, 1991.

J. David Ake AFP/Getty Images

Twenty years ago Tuesday, the nation was spellbound by a political and sexual drama that played out before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Following an NPR report, the committee was forced to hold a second round of confirmation hearings to examine allegations it had previously ignored about Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

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10:01pm

Tue October 4, 2011
Law

Do Civil Rights Laws Apply To Parochial Schools?

Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

The United States Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a major case testing the rights of teachers in religious schools. At rock bottom, the issue is who is a minister and when, if ever, that individual is exempt from the nation's civil rights laws.

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10:01pm

Mon October 3, 2011
Author Interviews

Stevens Chronicles 'Five Chiefs' Of The Supreme Court

John Paul Stevens, shown in 2003, served on the Supreme Court from 1975 to 2010.

Mark Wilson Getty Images

Supreme Court justices don't usually tell tales out of school, and retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens pretty much adheres to that tradition in his new book, Five Chiefs. But in an interview, the 91-year-old justice showed a little leg, as it were, when asked about recent controversies over Supreme Court ethics.

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10:01pm

Sun October 2, 2011
Law

In New Term, Supreme Court To Tackle Divisive Issues

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 5:19 am

Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

If the U.S. Supreme Court term opening Monday were a Broadway show, all eyes would be on the stars waiting in the wings.

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3:40pm

Fri September 2, 2011
The Two-Way

Federal Judge Rules Roger Clemens Will Face New Trial

Originally published on Fri September 2, 2011 3:54 pm

One-time baseball pitching star Roger Clemens is not off the hook.

A federal judge ruled Friday that Clemens must stand trial a second time for allegedly lying to a Congressional committee about steroid use. In July, Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial due to prosecutorial misconduct.

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1:55pm

Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

High Profile Law Firm Withdraws From John Edwards' Defense Team

Former U.S. senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, indicted for alleged campaign violations, is losing part of his trial team. The high profile Wall Street law firm that has led his defense is withdrawing.

Until now, Edwards has been represented by former White House Counsel Gregory Craig and former Associate White House Counsel Cliff Sloan from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. But apparently for both financial and tactical reasons, Edwards is switching lawyers.

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1:44pm

Mon August 15, 2011
Law

Bill Puts Ethics Spotlight On Supreme Court Justices

At times of partisan stress in American Politics, the Supreme Court often becomes part of the game, and the ethics of individual justices become a focus of criticism.

Liberal groups are leading the charge now.

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