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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. She is often featured in documentaries — most recently RBG — that deal with issues before the court. As Newsweek put it, "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, including 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 more than two dozen honorary degrees. On a lighter note, Esquire magazine twice named her one of the "Women We Love."

A frequent contributor on TV shows, she has also written for major newspapers and periodicals — among them, The New York Times Magazine, The Harvard Law Review, The Christian Science Monitor, and New York Magazine, and others.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

In a pair of historic rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected President Trump's claim of absolute immunity under the law. The vote was 7 to 2 in two decisions Thursday involving grand jury and congressional subpoenas for Trump's pre-presidential financial records.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court's two decisions, declaring, "In our system, the public has a right to every man's evidence," and "since the founding of the Republic, every man has included the President of the United States."

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously upheld laws across the country that remove or punish rogue Electoral College delegates who refuse to cast their votes for the presidential candidate they were pledged to support.

The decision Monday was a loss for "faithless electors," who argued that under the Constitution they have discretion to decide which candidate to support.

Updated at 5:35 p.m.

A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court stood by its most recent abortion-rights precedent Monday, delivering a major defeat to abortion opponents who had hoped for a reversal of fortunes at the court with the addition of two new Trump-appointed justices.

By a 5-4 vote, the court struck down a Louisiana law that was virtually identical to a Texas law it invalidated just four years ago. Chief Justice John Roberts cast the fifth and decisive vote.

The U.S. Supreme Court handed the Trump administration a major victory on a signature issue Thursday, ruling that asylum-seekers whose claims are initially denied by immigration officials have no right to a hearing before a judge.

The decision authorizes the Trump administration to fast-track deportations for thousands of asylum-seekers after bare-bones screening procedures.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

In a major rebuke to President Trump, the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the administration's plan to dismantle an Obama-era program that has protected 700,000 so-called DREAMers from deportation. The vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the opinion.

Updated at 5:52 p.m.

In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. The ruling was 6-3, with Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's first appointee to the court, writing the majority opinion. The opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's four liberal justices.

History, politics and law are converging at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, as the justices confront questions about the limits of presidential, congressional and judicial power.

At issue are three cases involving subpoenas — some issued by congressional committees, and one by a New York grand jury in a criminal case. All call for the production of Donald Trump's financial records, mainly from the period before he was president, and all issued not to Trump, but to banks and accounting firms he did business with.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent non-surgical treatment Tuesday for a benign gallbladder condition, according to a press release from the Supreme Court. She plans to participate in oral arguments from the hospital on Wednesday, according to the release.

The U.S. Supreme Court begins an extraordinary two weeks of oral arguments Monday. It will be the first time in history that the court has allowed livestreaming of its audio and the first time that the court is hearing arguments via telephone hookup instead of in the flesh.

The justices are trying to simulate their normal arguments as much as possible, beginning with Chief Marshal Pamela Talkin calling the court to order with a slightly modified version of her usual "Oyez, oyez, oyez ...."

After that, very little will be as usual.

Updated on Wednesday, May 13, at 3:45 p.m. ET

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Court has over two weeks heard oral arguments remotely, with audio streaming live for the public — a first for the court.

The arguments included high-profile cases about religious freedom, President Trump's financial records and the Electoral College.

For each case, both sides had the same amount of time, beginning with two minutes of uninterrupted argument. Then, each justice was allotted two minutes for questioning.

The U.S. Supreme Court sided with older federal workers on Monday, making it easier for those over 40 to sue for age discrimination.

The 8-to-1 ruling rejected a Trump administration position that sought to dramatically limit the legal recourse available to federal workers.

There were fierce clashes at the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday and a fierce critique from Chief Justice John Roberts afterward upon learning about statements made by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer outside while the arguments were taking place inside.

Addressing a crowd of abortion-rights demonstrators, Schumer, D-N.Y., referred to the court's two Trump appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and said, "You have unleashed the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions."

When the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump opens, the man in the center chair will be Chief Justice John Roberts. His role is spelled out in the Constitution.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court said late Friday that it will review three lower court decisions upholding congressional and grand jury subpoenas for financial records from President Trump's longtime personal accountants and from banks he did business with.

The high court's order sets the stage for a constitutional battle over the limits of presidential power.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a highly anticipated set of cases that threatens the legal status of some 700,000 young immigrants — often called DREAMers — who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. It's a program that President Trump tried to rescind seven months after taking office, only to have the lower courts block his action.

The Supreme Court may be eager to portray itself as an apolitical institution. But this term, political questions writ large are knocking at the high court door.

The upcoming term will almost surely be a march to the right on almost every issue that is a flashpoint in American society. Among them: abortion, guns, gay rights, the separation of church and state, immigration and presidential power.

Does Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the 86-year-old feminist icon, have any regrets about her professional life?

Hardly.

"I do think that I was born under a very bright star," Ginsburg said, recounting her life and the obstacles that faced her.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview Tuesday that she does not favor proposals put forth by some Democratic presidential candidates who have advocated changing the number of Supreme Court justices if the Democrats win the presidency.

Ginsburg, who got herself in trouble criticizing candidate Donald Trump in 2016, this time was critical not of any particular Democratic contender, but of their proposals to offset President Trump's two conservative appointments to the court.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is often a major event that ripples through American law for decades. But Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, which opens Tuesday, is especially historic because, if confirmed, Kavanaugh is expected to solidify a hard-right majority on the nation's highest court, a majority the likes of which has not been seen since the early 1930s, and which is likely to dominate for a generation or more.

In the battle over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the usual suspects are lining up in support and opposition. At the grass roots, however, there is one new entry nervously eyeing the Kavanaugh nomination. It is March For Our Lives, started by high school students in Parkland, Fla., after the shooting there, and aimed ultimately at enacting more effective gun regulations.

Updated at 5:58 p.m. ET

President Trump has narrowed his list of Supreme Court candidates to three, according to two sources close to the process.

The three are Judges Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge with Kavanaugh and Barrett as the top two at the moment.

It's important to maintain that caveat, because President Trump has not made a final decision, and it could change.

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.

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.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia may not have been the original originalist, but he popularized what had once been a fringe legal doctrine. He argued for it both on and off the U.S. Supreme Court and brought originalism into if not the mainstream then at least into the center of legal debate.

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.

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.

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