Ailsa Chang

Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who covers Congress for NPR. She landed in public radio after spending six years as a lawyer.

Since joining NPR in 2012, Chang has covered battles over immigration, the healthcare law, gun control and White House appointments. She crisscrossed the country in the months before the Republican takeover of the Senate, bringing stories about Washington from the Deep South, Southwest and New England.

Chang started out as a radio reporter in 2009, and has since earned a string of national awards for her work. In 2012, she was honored with the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her investigation on the New York City Police Department's "stop-and-frisk" policy and allegations of unlawful marijuana arrests by officers. The series also earned honors from Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists.

She was also the recipient of the Daniel Schorr Journalism Award, a National Headliner Award, and an honor from Investigative Reporters and Editors for her investigation on how Detroit's broken public defender system leaves lawyers with insufficient resources to effectively represent their clients.

In 2011, the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association named Chang as the winner of the Art Athens Award for General Excellence in Individual Reporting for radio.

The former lawyer served as a law clerk to Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco.

Chang graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University where she received her bachelor's degree.

She earned her law degree with distinction from Stanford Law School, where she won the Irving Hellman, Jr. Special Award for the best piece written by a student in the Stanford Law Review in 2001.

Chang was also a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University, where she received a master's degree in media law. And she has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Prior to coming to NPR, Chang was an investigative reporter at NPR member station WNYC from 2009 to 2012 in New York City, focusing on criminal justice and legal affairs. She was a Kroc fellow at NPR from 2008 to 2009, as well as a reporter and producer for NPR member station KQED in San Francisco.

Chang grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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5:48pm

Tue February 3, 2015
Politics

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Has A Ted Cruz Problem

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 6:55 pm

Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is insisting the Department of Homeland Security not get any money unless Republicans get to undo the president's immigration policies.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

A bill funding the Department of Homeland Security failed in the Senate Tuesday because it would block the president's executive action on deportations. The question now is, what will Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell try next?

The department runs out of money on Feb. 27. Texas senator and potential presidential candidate Ted Cruz insists DHS not get any money unless Republicans get to undo the president's immigration policies. That places McConnell in a dilemma — how does he placate Cruz and his allies while avoiding a shutdown of the agency?

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6:09am

Wed January 28, 2015
Politics

Grassley Leads Senate Judiciary Panel As Loretta Lynch Hearings Begin

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:57 pm

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks during the Freedom Summit on Jan. 24, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa takes the reins Wednesday at the first major confirmation hearing of the new Congress. Loretta Lynch, the federal prosecutor who's nominated to become attorney general, is in for an hours-long grilling before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. And taking the stage with her will be Grassley – who is the first non-lawyer ever to chair the committee.

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7:50am

Sat January 10, 2015
Politics

Keystone Supporters Hope Amendments Will Soften Pipeline Opposition

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 11:31 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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5:01am

Mon January 5, 2015
Politics

Republican Leaders Vow New Congress Will Get Things Done

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 7:57 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

4:38pm

Thu January 1, 2015
Politics

2014 Yielded Bumper Crop Of Judicial Confirmations

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 10:34 pm

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, shown walking towards the Senate chamber on December 16, pushed through a final batch of judicial nominees this month, before the Republican-dominated Senate takes over in the new year.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Since he's taken office, President Obama has seen more than 300 federal judges confirmed, putting him ahead of the past two presidents at their six-year marks. A huge chunk of those confirmations happened in 2014 — the year after the Senate Democrats got rid of the filibuster for most judicial nominations.

To assess how that rules change might have helped things along, consider a few numbers.

In 2014, 89 judges were confirmed; that's the highest yearly total in two decades, a it's almost one-third of all of Obama's confirmations since he first took office six years ago.

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6:27am

Wed December 17, 2014
Politics

Senate Adjourns, GOP To Take Over In January

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 11:29 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The 113th Congress has officially come to a close. The Senate adjourned late last night after passing a bill to extend tax breaks and confirming a slew of nominations. NPR's Ailsa Chang reports.

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4:19pm

Tue December 16, 2014
Politics

Senate Democrats Use Waning Majority To Push Through Judges

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

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

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5:15am

Tue December 16, 2014
Politics

Siding With Obama On Deportations Hurts Saldana's Bipartisan Support

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 7:31 am

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

8:12am

Sat December 13, 2014
Politics

Outrage On The Left And Right As Senate Delays Spending Vote

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 2:21 pm

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

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4:30pm

Thu December 11, 2014
Politics

Congress Runs Up Against Deadline To Pass A Budget

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 6:39 pm

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

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