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 Supreme Court now having five justices who are less likely to approve of gun regulations and laws, it granted a major gun case Tuesday for the first time in nearly a decade.

The court granted a right-to-carry case out of New York that that pits the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association against the City of New York. New York bans transporting permitted handguns outside city lines, even if the gun is not loaded and locked in a container. The guns currently can only be taken to one of a handful of shooting ranges within city limits.

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has no remaining signs of cancer after her surgery last month, requires no additional treatment, but will miss oral arguments at the court next week to rest, the Supreme Court said Friday.

While odds for a recovery from the surgery she had are good, they go way up if the subsequent pathology report shows no cancer in the lymph nodes. On Friday, the court released a written statement saying there is no additional evidence of cancer.

Updated at 12:12 p.m. ET

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not taking part in Monday's oral arguments before the court.

The 85-year old liberal justice underwent surgery for cancer last month and also recently broke several ribs after a fall.

Ginsburg had not missed a day of arguments since she was confirmed to the court in 1993.

Despite not physically being at the court, she will be participating in the cases by reading the briefs and the transcripts of the oral arguments.

Updated at 10:28 p.m. ET

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery Friday for early stage lung cancer, a Supreme Court spokesperson tells NPR. Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital in New York performed a lobectomy, removing one of the five lobes of the lung.

A specially appointed federal panel of judges has dismissed all 83 ethics complaints brought against Justice Brett Kavanaugh regarding his conduct at his confirmation hearings.

The judges concluded that while the complaints "are serious," there is no existing authority that allows lower court judges to investigate or discipline Supreme Court justices.

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Updated at 5:24 p.m. ET

The double-jeopardy clause of the Constitution says a person can't be prosecuted twice for the same crime.

But, in fact, for 170 years, the Supreme Court has said that separate sovereigns — state and federal governments — can do just that, because each sovereign government has separate laws and interests.

Updated at 5:34 p.m. ET

At the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, a majority of the justices seemed ready to make it more difficult for states to confiscate cars, houses and other property that is even tangentially used in the commission of a crime. It's a process legally known as civil asset forfeiture.

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Updated at 5:55 p.m. ET

In a rare moment of direct criticism, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts rebuked President Trump on Wednesday for the president's description of a federal judge who ruled against his asylum policy as "an Obama judge." Within hours, the president fired back on Twitter, launching an unusual conflict between the executive and judicial branches.

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Updated Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., delivered a decisive blow to President Trump Friday, ruling in favor of CNN and the news media.

Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, ordered the White House to restore correspondent Jim Acosta's press credentials, something the White House said later it would do.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., delayed his decision until Friday morning on CNN's lawsuit seeking immediate restoration of chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta's press pass.

A decision had been expected Thursday afternoon.

Earlier this week, CNN sued President Trump and other White House officials, contending that they acted unconstitutionally when they stripped Acosta of his press credentials, known as a "hard pass." The network is seeking a temporary restraining order while the case plays out.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

Brett Kavanaugh formally took his seat as the 114th justice at the traditional investiture ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday morning. There was, however, a difference in the way the event was handled. The court said that because of security concerns, Kavanaugh would not walk down the court's long outside staircase with the chief justice.

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Eighteen years ago, Lorrie Triplett's husband, Ensign Andrew Triplett, rode off on his bike to board the destroyer USS Cole, heading for the Persian Gulf. It was the last time she would see him. On Wednesday, she sat in the U.S. Supreme Court and "really wanted to scream."

Her husband was among 17 killed in 2000 when al-Qaida suicide bombers in a small boat attacked the Cole while it was refueling in a harbor in Yemen. Dozens more men and women were injured. They and the families of the dead sued the government of Sudan for allegedly providing material support for the attack.

Some personal secrets are so well-kept that even family and friends are oblivious. So it is with the story of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist's marriage proposal to a Stanford Law School classmate in the early 1950s.

President Trump and Senate Republicans are remaking the federal courts in their own image.

Prior to the Trump administration, there was plenty of tit for tat in the escalating partisan wars over judicial nominations. But these tactics were aimed at blocking nominees. Since Trump was sworn in, however, the GOP Senate leadership has moved aggressively to speed confirmation of new judges, casting aside long-existing practices and traditions that ensured some consensus in picking the judges who sit on the federal courts of appeal.

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Three years after his death, my father, virtuoso violinist Roman Totenberg, made headlines all over the world when his beloved Stradivarius violin, stolen 35 years earlier, was recovered by the FBI. The story struck the hearts of so many, I think, because in such turbulent times, it was rare good, even joyful, news. And the mystery of where it had been, was finally solved.

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And we're joined now by NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg to talk about what she expects to see from Justice Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court in the months ahead. Hi, Nina.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: Hi, Lulu.

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The Supreme Court grappled with a difficult death penalty question Tuesday. Does it violate the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment to execute a convicted murderer who has such severe dementia that he doesn't remember the crime he committed?

Vernon Madison committed a terrible crime. In 1985, after leaving his girlfriend's house, he returned, and shot and killed a police officer who sat outside in his car to provide protection for the woman.

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As the fight over the Brett Kavanaugh nomination continues to reverberate throughout the country, the shorthanded Supreme Court began its new term Monday. Republicans had hoped to seat nominee Brett Kavanaugh in time for the start of the term, but that, of course, did not happen.

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