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 punted Monday on its biggest decision of its term so far. The justices had been expected to rule on the limits of partisan gerrymandering.

Instead, the court sidestepped the major issues on technical grounds, sending the issue back to the lower courts for further examination.

In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court building sits directly across the street from the U.S. Capitol. On Wednesday, the two branches of government those structures represent clashed over who should direct how the judicial branch deals with sexual harassment complaints.

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. But the 7-to-2 decision was on the narrowest of grounds and left unresolved whether business owners have a free speech right to refuse to sell goods and services to same-sex couples.

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In a win for privacy rights, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that police may not search the area around a private home without a warrant, even when they think they have seen stolen property on the premises.

In other words, police can't just look on property or peek in windows, see something they think is illegal and start searching without a warrant.

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has again stepped into the bitter public turmoil over police shootings of civilians, ruling Monday that an Arizona police officer is shielded from being sued for shooting a woman in her own front yard.

The court said the officer acted reasonably, given that the woman, Amy Hughes, was carrying a large kitchen knife, that she was standing within striking distance of a woman who the officer did not know was Hughes' roommate, and that Hughes failed to drop the knife when ordered to do so.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court justices seemed to grasp the problem of gerrymandering in oral arguments on Wednesday and that it will only get worse, as computer-assisted redistricting gets even more refined.

But they appeared frustrated over what to do about it — without becoming the constant police officer on the beat.

This case, involving a Democratic-drawn congressional district in Maryland, is essentially Act II of the gerrymandering play at the Supreme Court.

In a case with potentially broad implication, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it harder for the federal government to prosecute people for obstructing IRS enforcement of the tax code.

Federal prosecutors have for decades used a broadly written provision of the tax code to prosecute a wide variety of offenders, from those involved in major financial scams to more mundane criminals who hide their profits from tax collectors.

The provision makes it a felony to "corruptly...endeavor to obstruct or impede the due administration" of the tax code.

The streets in Washington, D.C., were barely covered with snow Wednesday morning.

Eventually, some 3 to 5 inches accumulated. But D.C. isn't particularly known for handling inclement weather very well. It's essentially a Southern town when it comes to weather.

Most folks huddled at home, with the federal government shut down — except for essential workers. The schools announced a day early that they would shutter their doors, too.

But there was at least one place where the work went on, and it always does — the U.S. Supreme Court.

Updated on March 21 at 7:35 p.m. ET

Supreme Court justices on both sides of the ideological spectrum expressed skepticism Tuesday about California's "truth-in-advertising" law requiring anti-abortion clinics to more fully disclose what they are.

The anti-abortion "crisis pregnancy centers" objected to the law on free-speech grounds.

While some more liberal justices appeared receptive to the state's case initially, doubt about the law seemed to increase as the argument progressed.

Updated 6:05 p.m. ET

Every state has a law creating campaign-free buffer zones outside of polling places — laws the Supreme Court has long upheld.

On Wednesday, the justices tackled similar and even stricter laws that bar "political" apparel inside polling places.

The court did not indicate which way it was leaning in questioning Wednesday. Lawyers on both sides of the arguments were pressed hard.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

It's not that uncommon to hear someone complaining that politicians are corrupt. But you wouldn't expect to be thrown in jail for it.

That's exactly what happened to Fane Lozman at a City Council meeting in Florida.

The U.S. Supreme Court began churning out opinions Wednesday, producing four decisions — as many as the justices have produced over the past 4 1/2 months combined.

The topics were varied, touching on subjects ranging from gun control to whistleblower protection and terrorism.

A "muddle" on guns?

In a week highlighted by the national gun control debate, the court ruled that a North Carolina man who pleaded guilty to illegal firearm possession may still appeal his conviction on constitutional grounds.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

The case before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday had a surprise plot twist. Jurors were told that the accused was guilty of a triple murder — but the lawyer making that statement was not the prosecutor; he was the defense attorney.

The question before the justices was whether that violated the client's constitutional right to counsel. Justices liberal and conservative signaled that they have a problem with a lawyer who disregards his client's express wishes by conceding the defendant's guilt.

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Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided Wednesday over whether Ohio's so-called use-it-or-lose-it voter registration rule violates federal law.

Ohio, which has the most aggressive voter-purge system in the country, currently strikes voters from the registration rolls if they fail to vote in two consecutive elections — and if they fail to return a mailed address confirmation form.

This week Trump judicial nominee Matthew Petersen withdrew his name, amid controversy. It was the third such withdrawal in 10 days. Even so, President Trump's record on filling judicial vacancies has far outdistanced his predecessors.

Trump, aided by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has won confirmation of 12 appeals court nominees. That's more than any president in his first year, and indeed, more than Presidents Obama and George W. Bush combined.

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Updated at 7 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that taxpayer-funded grants for playgrounds available to nonprofits under a state program could not be denied to a school run by a church.

"The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

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As a hurry-up execution schedule plays out in Arkansas this week, the U.S. Supreme Court and Arkansas Supreme Court have stepped in to block two of the eight executions initially scheduled for an 11-day period.

With a nasty and partisan confirmation battle behind him, Justice Neil Gorsuch took his seat on the nation's highest court on Monday and quickly proved himself to be an active, persistent questioner.

As the court buzzer sounded, Gorsuch emerged from behind the red velvet curtains with his eight colleagues and took his seat at the far right of the bench, no pun intended. (That's where the most junior justice sits, regardless of his or her politics.)

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For more now, we turn to NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. Hey there, Nina.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: Hi.

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And now we are joined by NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. She watched the hearing today. Hi there, Nina.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: Hi there.

At most Supreme Court confirmation hearings, questions focus on hot-button social issues — abortion, affirmative action, same-sex marriage — and the hearings next week on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will be no exception.

But senators are also likely to spend a lot of time examining the nominee's views on federal regulations — of the environment, health and safety laws for workers, and laws on consumer rights and business.

In question is a doctrine that Gorsuch has criticized but that also once helped his mother.

The Chevron doctrine

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