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."

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.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a jury verdict finding that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. defrauded the federal government after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. In the years before the hurricane, State Farm issued both federal government-backed flood insurance policies and general homeowners policies. After the hurricane, the company ordered its claims adjusters to misclassify wind damage as flood damage to shift liability to the government and spare the insurance company's...

The U.S. Supreme Court takes up important immigration questions Wednesday, even as President-elect Donald Trump talks of pushing for more deportations. The legal issue before the court tests whether people who are detained for more than six months have a right to a bond hearing. These are not the usual deportation cases, where facts are cut and dried and people are deported within a month or two of their detention. Rather, these are people legally in the U.S., lawful permanent residents who...

If Tuesday's election determined who would control the two elected branches of government, it also determined who would control the unelected third branch of government — the judiciary. First, the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last February will be filled by President Trump's nominee, not by President Obama's. Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland died with the election returns, in essence vindicating the unprecedented confirmation policy of obstruction adopted by...

As voters go to the polls on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will be revisiting the 2008 collapse of the housing market, and the resulting drop in property values and property tax revenue. At issue are two cases testing whether Miami can sue Wells Fargo and Bank of America under the Fair Housing Act for alleged racial discrimination in mortgage terms and foreclosures. Specifically, the city of Miami alleges that the banks discriminated against black and Latino homeowners in terms and fees....

Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as attorney general of the United States, died early Monday from complications of Parkinson's disease. Reno's goddaughter Gabrielle D'Alemberte and sister Margaret Hurchalla confirmed her passing to NPR. Reno spent her final days at home in Miami surrounded by family and friends, D'Alemberte told The Associated Press. She was 78. Reno served longer in the job than anyone had in 150 years. And her tenure was marked by tragedy and controversy. But she left...

When you root for a cursed sports team, you learn heartbreak — and superstition. I am a Bostonian and therefore spent most of my youth and middle age rooting with futility for the Red Sox, and pining for the day when the Curse of the Bambino would finally be purged. Most of my most acute memories of rooting for the Sox involve not disappointment, but decimation. I watched from an airport en route home from an assignment during what may have been the worst of these awful moments, the sixth...

Jazz great Wynton Marsalis , a virtuoso trumpet player and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, has written — wait for it — a violin concerto. As the daughter of the late virtuoso violinist Roman Totenberg , I was intrigued and wanted to know more. So I spent an hour with Marsalis — and the violinist he wrote his concerto with and for. (More on that later.) At 55, Marsalis has spent a lifetime exploring the roots of American music. True, he admits, he has never played the violin, but he adds that...

At the Supreme Court on Monday, the justices heard arguments in the case of a girl with disabilities, her service dog and the school that barred the dog from the premises. Ehlena Fry was born with cerebral palsy, which significantly limits her mobility but not her cognitive skills. So when she was about to enter kindergarten in Napoleon, Mich., her parents got a trained service dog — a white furry goldendoodle, named Wonder. Dog and kid traveled to Ohio and trained together for two weeks so...

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday takes up the case of a girl, her service dog and a school that barred the dog from its premises. Ehlena Fry was born with cerebral palsy, a condition that significantly limited her motor skills but not her cognitive ability. So when she was 5, her pediatrician recommended that her parents get a service dog to help her become more independent. Family and friends threw fundraisers to scrape together the $13,000 needed for the right dog, and in 2009, Ehlena and...

While political Washington is in a tizzy about the election and what it portends for the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is prepping for her operatic debut in Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti's " The Daughter of the Regiment ." For one night in November, the diminutive legal diva will play the nonsinging role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp, a character akin to the dowagers in Marx Brothers movies. It's no cameo. According to the Washington National Opera, while this opera is "best...

This year's presidential election will be the first in a half-century without the significant presence of federal observers at polling places. That's because in 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, and when the court wiped out that section, the statute that provided for election observers went, too. The landmark decision in Shelby County v. Holder doesn't mean civil rights officials are totally disarmed. The Justice Department will still send out ...

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is walking back a critical comment she made about some NFL players for refusing to stand for the national anthem at football games. In a recent book interview, Ginsburg was asked how she felt about the protest by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and two of his teammates. She replied that while entirely legal, she thought it was "dumb and disrespectful." But trying to make such protests illegal, she said, would be "dangerous." "What I would...

It's only the second week of oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court and already the justices are on their third case involving race and the criminal justice system. Tuesday's case tests the constitutionality of widespread rules that bar courts from examining evidence of racial bias in jury deliberations. The federal rules of evidence, as well as rules in most states, generally bar courts from hearing juror testimony about deliberations after a trial is over. Indeed, the Supreme Court just...

In oral arguments on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court enters the smartphone wars. The case, which pits Samsung against Apple, could have major repercussions for tech products across the board. The two smartphone giants have been battling each other — not just in the marketplace but also in the courts — since 2011, a year after Samsung unveiled a new set of smartphones, including the Galaxy. Like iPhones, the Samsung products, for the first time, had rounded corners and square icons on a...

The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in the case of Duane Buck, a convicted Texas murderer sentenced to die after a psychologist testified that he was more likely to commit violent crimes in the future because he is black. Buck shot and killed his ex-girlfriend in front of her three children while she begged for her life. He killed the man he thought she was sleeping with and he shot his own stepsister, Phyllis Taylor, who survived the horrific night. Taylor was at the Supreme Court on...

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in the case of Duane Buck , a convicted Texas murderer who was sentenced to die after an expert witness testified that Buck was more likely to commit violent crimes in the future because he is black. There is no doubt about Duane Buck's guilt or the gruesome nature of his crime. He shot and killed his ex-girlfriend in front of her children while she begged for her life. Buck also killed the man he thought she was sleeping with. And he shot his...

The Supreme Court gets down to work on Tuesday, hearing the first arguments of a new term. Technically, the court term began on the traditional first Monday in October, but because it fell on the same day as the Jewish New Year, the court's three Jewish justices were absent and the remaining justices conducted only administrative business. It's been eight months since Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon, died unexpectedly. An hour after Scalia's death was confirmed, Senate Republican...

A federal appeals court panel Monday blocked Indiana Gov. and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence's attempt to keep Syrian refugees out of Indiana. The court upheld a lower court judge in barring Pence from interfering with the distribution of federal funds to resettle Syrian refugees in his state. The appeals court panel said that federal law bars discrimination based on nationality. The three-judge panel that issued the ruling is an all-star group of conservative judges,...

With the presidential election just five weeks away, all discussions about the U.S. Supreme Court focus on the unfilled vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and the likelihood of more vacancies to come. Speculation about the most likely justice to retire centers on 83-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But in an interview with NPR, she didn't sound like a woman eager to retire. The occasion for the interview was the publication of a new book titled My Own Words . It...

It's been nearly eight months since Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly, leaving the nation's highest court short-handed, and evenly divided on some of the most important legal issues of the day. While Democrats had expected to exploit GOP stonewalling on a replacement, Republicans have played the issue shrewdly. Within hours of Scalia's death on Feb. 13, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell pledged that no Obama nominee would get a hearing or a vote for nearly a year....

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene in a voting rights case from Ohio on Tuesday, leaving intact a reduction of early voting days that was enacted by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature. The cutback still allows for 23 days in which voters can cast in-person ballots prior to Election Day, but it eliminates the so-called Golden Week in which voters can both register and cast ballots. The state argued that it was within its rights to eliminate that week to ease the...

The Supreme Court on Friday temporarily invalidated Michigan's new ban on straight-ticket voting. The court let stand lower court rulings that blocked the ban from going into effect. The straight-ticket option allows voters to cast their ballots for all candidates of one party with a single mark. Last January, the Republican-controlled Legislature in Michigan voted to ban the straight-ticket option, which was first enacted 125 years ago and is popular particularly among black urban voters as...

A divided U.S. Supreme Court refused Wednesday to reinstate a set of voter restrictions enacted by the Republican-controlled Legislature in the battleground state of North Carolina. Last month a federal appeals court invalidated the restrictions , declaring that they were deliberately targeted at making it more difficult for African-Americans to vote. The restrictions were enacted in 2013 shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. That provision...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: A divided Supreme Court weighed in today on North Carolina's new voting restrictions. It refused to reinstate them. Last month a federal appeals court struck down the state's new restrictions, saying that they were intended to make it harder for African-Americans to vote. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg reports. NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: The restrictions were enacted in 2013 shortly after the U.S....

Rushing to establish the rules of the road for the upcoming national elections, federal courts in recent weeks have issued a cascade of decisions rolling back restrictive voting laws enacted in the aftermath of a major Supreme Court decision. In 2013, the high court struck down a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. No longer would areas of the country with a history of discrimination in voting be required to pre-clear all changes in voting laws and procedures. "Our country has changed,...

Most Americans will get their first real look at Tim Kaine when he speaks at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night. Of all the people Hillary Clinton considered as her vice presidential running mate, he has the most experience at all levels of government. But there is an irony in the Virginia senator's career. In the heart of the Old Confederacy, Kaine's rise has been fueled in part by his personal commitment to racial reconciliation. Politics, race and religion can make for a...

In choosing Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, Donald Trump has reassured both establishment republicans and social conservatives — but he has also picked someone who in many ways is his polar opposite. Pence addresses the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night. As a conservative talk show host in Indiana, Pence called himself "Rush Limbaugh on decaf." The show was a springboard to runs for office that initially landed Pence flat on his face. He ran twice for the U.S....

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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