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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 Oath." It sounds like the name of a book, and indeed, there have been many volumes with that name. But none more relevant this week than The Oath specified in the Constitution for the president of the United States when he takes office.

The 35 words in Article II, Section I, of the Constitution read as follows:

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Rarely have U.S. Supreme Court arguments been more schizophrenic than they were on Wednesday.

The justices were hearing a challenge to the 1946 trademark law barring the federal registration of trademarks that "disparage" groups and individuals. The challenge was brought by an Asian-American rock group called, "The Slants."

The band members acknowledge that the name they picked for their group is seen as offensive and racist by many Asian-Americans, but they say they are seeking to reclaim the term and make it something positive.

What do the McDonald's golden arches, the apple on your iPhone, the NBC peacock, the Nike swoosh and the MGM lion have in common?

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday in a dispute that advocates describe as the most important case involving public school special education in three decades.

At issue is whether federal law requires public schools to provide more than the bare minimum in special services for children with disabilities. With millions of children qualifying for these services, the court's ruling could have a profound effect.

Confirmation controversies kick off when the Senate Judiciary Committee convenes hearings Tuesday on the nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general.

Sessions has repeatedly amended the Senate questionnaire he submitted to the committee last month. Among the changes is his answer to a question asking the nominee to list any "unsuccessful nominations for appointive office." In his original answer, Sessions failed to list the fact that the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination to be a federal judge 30 years ago.

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On Jan. 20, 2016, exactly a year before a new president would be sworn into office, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia announced the court's 8-to-1 decision reinstating the death penalty for two Kansas brothers.

It was the last time the 79-year-old Scalia would announce an opinion. Three weeks later, on a hunting trip in Texas, the conservative icon died in his sleep.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a jury verdict finding that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. defrauded the federal government after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005.

In the years before the hurricane, State Farm issued both federal government-backed flood insurance policies and general homeowners policies. After the hurricane, the company ordered its claims adjusters to misclassify wind damage as flood damage to shift liability to the government and spare the insurance company's coffers.

The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear over the past quarter century that racial gerrymandering is an unconstitutional no-no, but partisan gerrymandering is still permissible. The question is: How do you tell the difference? Especially when the Voting Rights Act allows for some consideration of race to ensure minority representation, and when party affiliation often correlates with race.

In cases from Virginia and North Carolina, the Supreme Court seemed unsure on Monday how to balance these mandates.

For more than a quarter century, two legislative districts in North Carolina have been ground zero in a fight over race and redistricting. In the course of that time, Republicans have taken control of the state Legislature, and the two political parties have reversed their legal positions regarding the use of race and drawing district lines.

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared closely divided Wednesday as it tried to figure out whether immigrants can be detained indefinitely without a chance to persuade a neutral judge that they are entitled to temporary release.

The U.S. Supreme Court takes up important immigration questions Wednesday, even as President-elect Donald Trump talks of pushing for more deportations. The legal issue before the court tests whether people who are detained for more than six months have a right to a bond hearing.

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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.

President-elect Trump's selection of Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama to be attorney general is stirring old memories-about his first failed foray on the national political scene.

In 1986, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Sessions, nominated by Republican President Reagan to be a a federal judge, after he acknowledged making racially insensitive remarks and calling the NAACP, the ACLU, the Southern Christian Leadership Council, and the National Council of Churches "un-American."

As voters go to the polls on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will be revisiting the 2008 collapse of the housing market, and the resulting drop in property values and property tax revenue. At issue are two cases testing whether Miami can sue Wells Fargo and Bank of America under the Fair Housing Act for alleged racial discrimination in mortgage terms and foreclosures.

Specifically, the city of Miami alleges that the banks discriminated against black and Latino homeowners in terms and fees.

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 office widely respected for her independence and accomplishments.

When you root for a cursed sports team, you learn heartbreak — and superstition.

I am a Bostonian and therefore spent most of my youth and middle age rooting with futility for the Red Sox, and pining for the day when the Curse of the Bambino would finally be purged.

Most of my most acute memories of rooting for the Sox involve not disappointment, but decimation.

With just days until the election, some Senate Republicans are suggesting that when it comes to the Supreme Court, eight is enough. Eight justices, that is.

For the first time, some Senate Republicans are saying that if Hillary Clinton is elected, the GOP should prevent anyone she nominates from being confirmed to fill the current court vacancy, or any future vacancy.

Jazz great Wynton Marsalis, a virtuoso trumpet player and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, has written — wait for it — a violin concerto.

As the daughter of the late virtuoso violinist Roman Totenberg, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. So I spent an hour with Marsalis — and the violinist he wrote his concerto with and for. (More on that later.)

At the Supreme Court on Monday, the justices heard arguments in the case of a girl with disabilities, her service dog and the school that barred the dog from the premises.

Ehlena Fry was born with cerebral palsy, which significantly limits her mobility but not her cognitive skills. So when she was about to enter kindergarten in Napoleon, Mich., her parents got a trained service dog — a white furry goldendoodle, named Wonder.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday takes up the case of a girl, her service dog and a school that barred the dog from its premises.

While political Washington is in a tizzy about the election and what it portends for the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is prepping for her operatic debut in Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti's "The Daughter of the Regiment."

For one night in November, the diminutive legal diva will play the nonsinging role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp, a character akin to the dowagers in Marx Brothers movies.

This year's presidential election will be the first in a half-century without the significant presence of federal observers at polling places. That's because in 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, and when the court wiped out that section, the statute that provided for election observers went, too.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) said Monday that if Hillary Clinton is elected, Republicans will unite to block anyone she nominates to the Supreme Court.

Speaking on WPHT-AM radio's "Dom Giordano Program" in Philadelphia, McCain pledged to obstruct any Clinton Supreme Court nomination for the current or any future vacancy.

"I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up," he declared.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is walking back a critical comment she made about some NFL players for refusing to stand for the national anthem at football games.

In a recent book interview, Ginsburg was asked how she felt about the protest by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and two of his teammates.

She replied that while entirely legal, she thought it was "dumb and disrespectful." But trying to make such protests illegal, she said, would be "dangerous."

"What I would do is strongly take issue with the view they are expressing," she said.

The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case testing whether judges may inquire into allegations of racial bias in jury deliberations. The court was divided, though the justices seemed to agree the case before them presented "smoking gun" evidence of racial discrimination.

Legal rules in most states bar judges from hearing testimony about jury deliberations after a trial is over. While the Supreme Court has generally upheld these rules, it has left open whether such juror inquires might be justified in extreme cases.

It's only the second week of oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court and already the justices are on their third case involving race and the criminal justice system.

Tuesday's case tests the constitutionality of widespread rules that bar courts from examining evidence of racial bias in jury deliberations.

In oral arguments on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court enters the smartphone wars.

The case, which pits Samsung against Apple, could have major repercussions for tech products across the board.

The two smartphone giants have been battling each other — not just in the marketplace but also in the courts — since 2011, a year after Samsung unveiled a new set of smartphones, including the Galaxy. Like iPhones, the Samsung products, for the first time, had rounded corners and square icons on a touchscreen.

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