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." She is also a regular panelist on Inside Washington, a weekly syndicated public affairs television program produced in the nation's capital.

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.

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Law
12:01 am
Fri July 1, 2011

Business, Free Speech Winners In High Court Term

The U.S. Supreme Court term that ended Monday significantly altered the nation's legal topography, making it much more difficult for people to sue big business. At the same time, the court continued its First Amendment march, making clear that at least five justices, and often more, prize the First Amendment guarantee of free speech over other constitutional values.

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Law
12:01 am
Tue June 28, 2011

High Court OKs Sales Of Violent Video Game To Kids

California has lost its argument that the government should protect children from the effects of violent video games. The Supreme Court says the First Amendment protects their sale.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court, wrapping up its current term, has struck down California's ban on the sale of violent video games to children. A divided court majority said the law violates the Constitution's guarantee of free expression.

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Law
3:00 pm
Mon June 13, 2011

Supreme Court Upholds Nevada Ethics Law

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously upheld a broad state ethics law, ruling that legislators have no personal, First Amendment right to vote on a measure. The decision reverses a Nevada state court ruling that would have undermined conflict-of-interest laws across the country.

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Law
12:01 am
Mon June 13, 2011

Skip The Legalese And Keep It Short, Justices Say

Robyn Mackenzie iStockphoto.com

Most of the U.S. Supreme Court's work is in writing. The words on the page become the law of the land, but the justices have no uniform approach to the way they do that job. Indeed, each seems to have his or her own inspiration or pet peeve.

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Law
2:40 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

Microsoft Loses Supreme Court Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a $290 million judgment against Microsoft for patent infringement. The award is the largest ever upheld on appeal in a patent case.

A small software company called i4i sued Microsoft in 2007, alleging that the industry giant had, without permission, used an editing tool patented by i4i — specifically, that the program was used in Microsoft Word 2003 and 2007. A jury ruled against Microsoft, ordering it to pay $290 million to i4i and to stop using the patented editing tool.

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