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.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The U.S. Supreme Court punted Monday on its biggest decision of its term so far. The justices had been expected to rule on the limits of partisan gerrymandering.

Instead, the court sidestepped the major issues on technical grounds, sending the issue back to the lower courts for further examination.

Updated at 6:51 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday struck down a Minnesota law that bars voters from wearing political apparel inside polling places.

Though two justices dissented on procedural grounds, all the justices agreed that the Minnesota law, combined with the way it was enforced, was simply too broad.

"An island of calm"

In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court building sits directly across the street from the U.S. Capitol. On Wednesday, the two branches of government those structures represent clashed over who should direct how the judicial branch deals with sexual harassment complaints.

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Updated 6:34 p.m. ET

An ideologically split U.S. Supreme Court Monday upheld Ohio's controversial "use-it-or-lose-it" voting law by a 5-to-4 margin. The law allows the state to strike voters from the registration rolls if they fail to return a mailed address confirmation form, and don't vote for another four years, or two federal election cycles.

Failure to vote

Mazie Hirono used to be known as the "good girl" of Hawaii politics.

She was seen as polite, never in-your-face, not a boat-rocker. But now, that view has changed.

As one Hawaii columnist put it, she is a "badass."

"I always was," Hirono said in an interview with NPR. "I just wasn't very noisy about it. I've been a fighter all my life. I just don't look like that."

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. But the 7-to-2 decision was on the narrowest of grounds and left unresolved whether business owners have a free speech right to refuse to sell goods and services to same-sex couples.

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In a win for privacy rights, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that police may not search the area around a private home without a warrant, even when they think they have seen stolen property on the premises.

In other words, police can't just look on property or peek in windows, see something they think is illegal and start searching without a warrant.

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

Democrats may hold 49 votes in the Senate but for all practical purposes, they have been completely disarmed when it comes to opposing President Trump's judicial nominees.

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The Supreme Court handed down five decisions Monday, and one that could pave a path for legalizing sports gambling throughout the country got most of the attention Monday morning. But the court also decided two important criminal justice and personal rights cases.

In one, McCoy v. Louisiana, the court ruled 6-3 in favor of a defendant whose lawyer told a jury that his client was guilty, disregarding the explicit instructions of his client. His lawyer wanted him to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty.

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During intense arguments at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the justices, by a narrow margin, seemed to be leaning toward upholding the third and current version of the Trump travel ban.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often the deciding vote in closely contested cases, for example, made repeated comments suggesting that the court does not usually second-guess a president's national security decisions — even in the context of an immigration law that bans discrimination based on nationality.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that foreign corporations cannot be sued for damages in U.S. courts for aiding in terrorist attacks or other human rights violations. The vote was 5-to-4.

Writing for the conservative majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the"courts are not well suited to make the required policy judgments implicated by corporate liability in cases like this one."

Rather, the political branches — Congress and the executive — should deal with these issues, he said.

It is rare, if not unheard of, for former intelligence experts to weigh in against the government in a major national security case. But the Trump travel ban, to be argued Wednesday in the U.S. Supreme Court, has produced an astounding and bipartisan coalition of intelligence and national security heavyweights who are urging the court to strike down the ban.

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Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Going into Tuesday's arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court, it looked as though the court was headed toward reversing a 50-year-old decision that barred states from collecting taxes on out-of-state purchases.

But after the arguments, it looked as though a court majority just might preserve the status quo, and that would be a huge victory for online sellers.

The case presents a multibillion-dollar dispute, and the outcome will directly affect consumers, cash-strapped states and companies large and small.

Updated at 6:28 p.m. ET

President Trump took the extraordinary step Friday of overruling the judgment of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and granting a pardon to I. Lewis Libby Jr., who served as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Libby, known as "Scooter," was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2007 in connection with the leak of a CIA officer's identity. Bush had commuted Libby's sentence but did not issue a full pardon.

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Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

Wendy Vitter, nominated by President Trump for a federal judgeship, tried Wednesday to walk back several controversial comments she made about abortion and birth control.

The U.S. Supreme Court has again stepped into the bitter public turmoil over police shootings of civilians, ruling Monday that an Arizona police officer is shielded from being sued for shooting a woman in her own front yard.

The court said the officer acted reasonably, given that the woman, Amy Hughes, was carrying a large kitchen knife, that she was standing within striking distance of a woman who the officer did not know was Hughes' roommate, and that Hughes failed to drop the knife when ordered to do so.

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Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court justices seemed to grasp the problem of gerrymandering in oral arguments on Wednesday and that it will only get worse, as computer-assisted redistricting gets even more refined.

But they appeared frustrated over what to do about it — without becoming the constant police officer on the beat.

This case, involving a Democratic-drawn congressional district in Maryland, is essentially Act II of the gerrymandering play at the Supreme Court.

It looks like one of the marquee cases before the U.S. Supreme Court is about to go bust — sabotaged by a needle in a legislative haystack.

The question in the case is whether a U.S. technology company can refuse to honor a court-ordered U.S. search warrant seeking information that is stored at a facility outside the United States.

Oral arguments took place at the Supreme Court last month, and they did not go well for Microsoft, the tech giant that is challenging a warrant for information stored at its facility in Ireland.

The streets in Washington, D.C., were barely covered with snow Wednesday morning.

Eventually, some 3 to 5 inches accumulated. But D.C. isn't particularly known for handling inclement weather very well. It's essentially a Southern town when it comes to weather.

Most folks huddled at home, with the federal government shut down — except for essential workers. The schools announced a day early that they would shutter their doors, too.

But there was at least one place where the work went on, and it always does — the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a case with potentially broad implication, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it harder for the federal government to prosecute people for obstructing IRS enforcement of the tax code.

Federal prosecutors have for decades used a broadly written provision of the tax code to prosecute a wide variety of offenders, from those involved in major financial scams to more mundane criminals who hide their profits from tax collectors.

The provision makes it a felony to "corruptly...endeavor to obstruct or impede the due administration" of the tax code.

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