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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.

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...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: President Obama has chosen his nominee to fill the seat left vacant with the death of Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. The president will name his nominee in the White House Rose Garden at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, which is just a little bit less than an hour from now. But we know the name thanks to NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, who broke the news minutes ago. She's with us now...

President Obama's choice to serve as the newest Supreme Court justice is Merrick Garland, a moderate federal appeals court judge and former prosecutor with a reputation for collegiality and meticulous legal reasoning. Garland, who has won past Republican support, has "more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history," a White House official said. "No one is better suited to immediately serve on the Supreme Court." Garland is the latest judge from the federal...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: This morning, here, President Obama will announce his nomination to the Supreme Court. He will be making that announcement in the Rose Garden at 11 a.m. Eastern time. We'll be covering that, of course. There's been much speculation about who that nominee might be. No one knows for sure, but NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg has some ideas, and she's with us now. Good morning. NINA...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Sources close to the process tell NPR that President Obama has begun interviewing potential nominees for the Supreme Court vacancy. The president is planning to nominate someone to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia, despite Republican senators' warnings that they will not consider or even meet with an Obama appointee. They want the next president to make that nomination. NPR's Nina Totenberg is...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

President Obama has begun interviewing candidates for the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Sources close to the process say that among those being interviewed are Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; Judge Sri Srinivasan, of the same court; Judge Paul Watford, of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco; Judge Jane Kelly, of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals based in St. Louis; and U.S....

The U.S. Supreme Court, without hearing oral argument, has unanimously reversed an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that denied parental rights to a lesbian adoptive mother who had split with her partner. The decision is a direct repudiation of an Alabama Supreme Court decision that refused to recognize a Georgia adoption. The two women in the case were together for 16 years, and they had three children conceived by assisted reproductive technology — an older daughter, now 13, and boy and girl...

Even with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Wednesday could mark a potential turning point for the Supreme Court on the subject of abortion. At issue is whether a new Texas law imposes restrictions that unconstitutionally limit a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy. Last June, a federal appeals court upheld the law. If the Supreme Court agrees, it would mean a dramatic cutback on abortion rights across the country, and potentially a steppingstone toward the reversal of Roe v. Wade. ...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Supreme Court hears arguments Monday testing whether a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice violated the Constitution when he ruled in a death penalty case that he had been involved with as a prosecutor. At issue is whether then-Chief Justice Ronald Castille, by refusing to recuse himself, denied the defendant, Terrance Williams, a fair hearing. In hindsight, Williams was, as some put it, a "Jekyll-and-Hyde" personality. He was a star quarterback in high school who earned a scholarship to...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Saturday, lay in repose at the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, as the court, the public and the president paid their respects. While the battle over Scalia's replacement raged in the political world, the atmosphere at the court was somber. The flag-draped casket was carried up the marble steps of the Supreme Court on Friday morning, between two long rows of former Scalia clerks, and into the Great Hall. Inside, the remaining eight justices lined up in their...

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will pay their respects to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Friday. The first family will not attend a brief private ceremony at the court in the morning. According to the White House schedule released Thursday evening, the Obamas will arrive in the afternoon, after general visiting has begun. Scalia's death last Saturday almost instantly set off a political clash between Senate Republicans, who...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: People with strong views of the next Supreme Court appointment include a former justice. RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman on the court. President Ronald Reagan appointed O'Connor just as he appointed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. INSKEEP: Republicans want to block Obama from replacing Scalia, leaving it to the next president. O'Connor says she disagrees. The retired...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Now for an update on the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. President Obama says he intends to nominate a successor, and the White House is being tightlipped about the details. Senate Republicans have been insisting they won't go along with it, but now some of them may be softening their stance. NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg is here in the studio. Hi,...

The late Justice Antonin Scalia will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Friday. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., according to sources close to the Scalia family. In a tradition that dates back to 1873, Scalia's Supreme Court chair and bench were draped with black wool crepe today. The court has also placed a black drapery over the courtroom doors. The last high court justice to lie in...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: Even Atonin Scalia's ideological opponents - in fact, maybe especially his opponents - acknowledged that the late Supreme Court justice changed the nation's conversation about the Constitution. DAVID GREENE, HOST: Scalia championed what is called originalism, understanding the document in the context of the time it was written. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) ANTONIN SCALIA: The Constitution that...

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly on Saturday . We spoke to NPR's Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg about his life, legacy and what's next. 1. Let's talk about Scalia's legal perspective. He was known as a proponent of originalism. Can you tell us a bit about that? Originalism, as defined by Justice Scalia and others, is that what is in the Constitution literally is what the founding fathers meant. If you're talking about whether the...

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, perhaps the leading voice of uncompromising conservatism on the nation's highest court, was found dead Saturday, Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed. Scalia, who had been staying at a luxury ranch in West Texas, was 79 years old. "On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away," Roberts said in a statement. "He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and...

The U.S. Supreme Court has offered a reprieve to as many as 2,000 men and women currently serving mandatory terms of life in prison without parole for homicides they committed as juveniles. The court's 6-3 decision expands an earlier 2012 ruling in which the justices struck down issuing such mandatory life terms for juvenile murderers. A 2010 ruling had declared life sentences for juveniles unconstitutional for all other convictions. On Monday the justices took the unusual step of applying...

A nearly unanimous Supreme Court Wednesday reinstated death sentences for three convicted Kansas murderers. The decision cast doubt on the impression that a majority of the justices might now be willing to strike down capital punishment in its entirety. Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia described the gruesome details of the so-called 2000 Wichita Massacre, in which two brothers broke into a home at Christmastime, tortured five young men and women, raped them repeatedly, forced...

The Supreme court has once again stepped into the fire of hot-button political issues. The court said Tuesday it would rule by summer on the legality of President Obama's executive action granting temporary legal status to as many as 4.5 million people who entered the U.S. illegally. Fourteen months ago, Obama, frustrated by Congress' inability to act on immigration reform, issued an order expanding temporary legal status for some adults who entered the U.S. illegally. The new order granted...

The U.S. Supreme Court tackles a case on Tuesday that can fairly be described as weird. The consequences, however, could be significant. The Supreme Court has long held that the government cannot retaliate against its employees for exercising their First Amendment right of free speech or association. But what if the employee is mistakenly perceived as taking a political position, when in fact he was doing nothing of the sort? That's what happened to Jeffrey Heffernan. After 20 years on the...

The litigants in the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday were a remarkable bunch: On one side, the Central Bank of Iran. On the other, the victims of Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks going back three decades. The constitutional question: Whether Congress — in dealing with both — had infringed on the independence of the judiciary. In 2012, President Obama froze nearly $2 billion the Iranian central bank had concealed illegally in an account in New York. Congress then amended an existing anti...

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down Florida's death sentencing system as unconstitutional on Tuesday, casting doubt on the status of all the state's death sentences. Florida ranks second in the nation in the number of death row inmates, with 390 men and women currently awaiting execution. Florida law allows juries in capital cases to recommend a sentence of death, or life in prison without parole — but it is the judge who is charged with finding facts, and judges can and do frequently...

A landmark Supreme Court decision that's nearly 40 years old is on life support. The outcome of a case currently before the court could cripple public employee unions in 23 states, and weaken their influence nationwide. In 1977 the Supreme Court declared that state and local governments can require nonunion public employees to pay partial fees for negotiating union contracts that cover them. Conservative activists and union opponents long have hated the decision, and on Monday a majority of...

It's the showdown at the Supreme Court Corral on Monday for public employee unions and their opponents. Union opponents are seeking to reverse a 1977 Supreme Court decision that allows public employee unions to collect so-called "fair share fees." Twenty-three states authorize collecting these fees from those who don't join the union but benefit from a contract that covers them. The decision later this year will have profound consequences not just for the California teachers in Monday's case,...

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...

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