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.

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.

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.

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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 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 well as in some heavily Republican areas.

The Senate Democratic leadership came back Tuesday, thundering at Republicans about their historic refusal to even consider a Supreme Court nominee. On July 20, President Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, broke the record set 100 years ago for the gap between nomination and confirmation of a U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

As of now, Garland has been waiting, in vain, for more than 170 days, well over the century-old, 125-day record. The prospect is, at best, many months more of waiting.

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.

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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.

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.