Nina Totenberg, NPR

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 on Tuesday hears a case that questions intellectual disabilities and the death penalty — specifically, what standards states may use in determining whether a defendant convicted of murder is mentally deficient. In 2002, the justices barred the execution of the intellectually disabled. But it left the states considerable room to decide who is "mentally retarded." Two years ago, the court put its thumb more firmly on the scale, telling states they were not free to use a...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

President Obama's controversial executive actions on immigration were challenged in the Supreme Court on Monday. While it's impossible to glean how the court will ultimately decide the case, the eight justices seemed evenly split along ideological lines during oral arguments, leaving a real possibility of a 4-4 tie. If that comes to pass, a lower court decision that stopped the actions from going into effect will stand, Obama's term will come to an end and his executive actions, which were...

The fate of one of President Obama's controversial executive actions on immigration goes before the Supreme Court on Monday. The action would grant temporary, quasi-legal status and work permits to as many as 4 million parents who entered the U.S. illegally prior to 2010. The president's order applies only to parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Perla is one of the millions of parents who would benefit from the president's action. She and her husband, both...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIoBwblIxws Just after President Obama and I concluded our interview — and after the microphones and cameras clicked off — he added a thought. Senate Republicans' vow not to consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court, he said, could have profound consequences for the high court and the justices themselves. "The thing that could be lost," said Obama, is the "collegiality" of the court, the ability to work together. When the...

Affirmative action in higher education was once again under attack before the Supreme Court Wednesday. In the past the court has allowed race as one of many factors in college admissions. But as it has grown more conservative, it has moved to reconsider the issue — including a test case from Texas that was before the court today for the second time. In 1996, the lower courts ruled that the University of Texas could not consider race at all in admissions, and the number of minorities enrolled...

Affirmative action in college admissions is once again under attack at the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1978 and in 2003 the Court ruled definitively that colleges and universities could consider race and ethnicity as one of many factors in admissions, as long as there are no quotas. By 2013, though, the composition of the Court had changed and grown more conservative, and the issue was back in a case from Texas--a case that eventually fizzled that year but is back again now. There is a long and...

The U.S. Supreme Court once again is weighing into a fraught elections case — a case with enormous potential political repercussions. At issue is the meaning of the "one person, one vote" principle. The federal Constitution orders the Census Bureau to count every resident in the country so that they all can be represented in districts of equal population in the national House of Representatives. The status of state legislative districts, though, is less clear. In a landmark 1964 decision, the...

The United States Supreme Court opens a new term Monday, and, as always, many of the most contentious issues facing the country — including abortion, birth control coverage, public employee unions, affirmative action in higher education, voter participation — are likely to be before the court. But there is a difference this term. Chief Justice John Roberts, despite his overall conservative record on the bench, has become a punching bag for candidates vying for the Republican presidential...

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday issued the last of its opinions for this term — on the death penalty, anti-pollution regulations and the power of independent commissions to draw congressional and state legislative districts. In addition, the court issued a set of orders that set up cases to be heard next term on affirmative action and abortion. By a 5-4 vote, the court upheld the use of the controversial drug midazolam as part of a three-drug cocktail used in carrying out the death penalty....

People have been lining up outside the U.S. Supreme Court for days hoping that they will be among the lucky ones to get a seat for Tuesday's historic arguments on gay marriage. As of now, gay marriage is legal in 36 states. By the end of this Supreme Court term, either same-sex couples will be able to wed in all 50 states, or gay marriage bans may be reinstituted in many of the states where they've previously been struck down. Tuesday's Supreme Court arguments focus on two questions: First,...

Nazis, jihadis, racial slurs and even "Mighty Fine Burgers" all made cameo appearances at the U.S. Supreme Court Monday as the justices tackled a case of great interest to America's auto-loving public. The question before the court: When, if ever, can the state veto the message on a specialty license plate? Texas, like many other states, makes millions of dollars by issuing these specialty car tags for a fee. The state, over time, has issued 480 such plates and rejected 12. The plate at the...

Once again the U.S. Supreme Court is correcting its own record, but Wednesday marks the first time that the court has called attention to its own mistake with a public announcement. And it was the erring justice herself, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who asked the court's public information office to announce the error. Last Friday Ginsburg pulled an all-nighter to write a dissent from the court's decision to allow the Texas voter ID law to go into effect while the case is on appeal. The dissent,...

The U.S. Supreme Court opens a new term Monday, but so far the justices are keeping quiet about whether or when they will tackle the gay marriage question. Last week, the justices met behind closed doors to discuss pending cases, but when they released the list of new cases added to the calendar, same-sex marriage was nowhere to be seen. But that really doesn't mean very much. About 2,000 cases have piled up over the summer, each seeking review on all manner of subjects. So when the court met...

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