Nina Totenberg | New Hampshire Public Radio

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.

President Trump, having reached the historic — and infamous — landmark of being impeached twice, now faces trial in the Senate. But unlike the first time, he will no longer be in office. So, does the Senate have the power to try an ex-president on impeachment charges?

With pressure mounting from all sides, President Trump is reportedly telling aides — once again — that he wants to pardon himself.

Even before he was elected, Trump had a grandiose view of his ability to defy political gravity. In 2016, he gleefully and famously told a campaign rally, "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any voters."

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With pressure mounting on President Trump, there's a new focus on a question that has come up since Day 1 of the Trump administration. Can he pardon himself? NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg reports.

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court embarks on the second half of a term with a fortified 6-to-3 conservative majority. But unlike the first half of the term, there will be no norm-busting President Trump often railing at the court's election decisions. In tone, President Biden probably will be the functional opposite, but his policies are likely to be greeted with more skepticism.

Updated at 6:06 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ducked a direct ruling Friday on whether President Trump can exclude undocumented immigrants from a key census count.

At issue in the case was Trump's July memorandum ordering the U.S. Census Bureau for the first time to exclude undocumented immigrants from the decennial census for purposes of reapportionment. The count is used to determine how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Wednesday that it would review a case testing whether the NCAA's limits on compensation for student athletes violate the nation's antitrust laws.

The court will not hear arguments in the case until after the new year, but the outcome, expected by the end of June, could have enormous consequences for college athletics.

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Updated at 4:53 a.m. ET Saturday

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday night rejected an eleventh hour challenge to Joe Biden's election as president.

The court's action came in a one-page order, which said the complaint was denied "for lack of standing."

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Election experts scoffed this week when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced he would be filing a lawsuit in the Supreme Court against four key states in an attempt to block presidential electors from finalizing Joe Biden's election victory.

But now President Trump and 17 states he carried are joining that effort.

Officials in the states targeted in the suit — Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — derided it as nothing more than an unfounded publicity stunt.

Jed Leiber remembers playing chess with his grandfather when he was a boy, and learning about all that Saemy Rosenberg had left behind behind when he fled Germany in the 1930s.

"I made a promise to myself that one day I would find everything that was taken from him and have it returned," Leiber says.

So Leiber was listening intently on Monday when the justices dealt with his grandfather's famous art collection and its coerced sale to the Nazis. It was not the first time the court has dealt with the Nazis theft of important works of art.

Is a non-unanimous jury verdict in a criminal case ever constitutional?

Just months ago, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that such verdicts violate the Sixth Amendment's right to a jury trial. But the 6-3 decision applied only to future cases. The justices, apparently divided at the time over whether the decision should apply to past cases, left that question for another day.

Even as his administration is heading out the door, President Trump is trying to exclude undocumented immigrants from the decennial census. If he succeeds, it will be the first time unauthorized immigrants will not be counted for purposes of drawing new congressional districts.

Three lower courts have ruled unanimously that the president's action violates either the Constitution, the federal census statute, or both. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in one of those cases — from New York.

The start of the U.S. census

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Tomorrow, New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy is scheduled to sign a law making it a crime to make public personal addresses and other identifying information about state judges or their families. Even though the law protects only state judges, federal Judge Esther Salas will be there because the law is named after her son, Daniel. In July, her son and husband were gunned down at their home. Her husband survived. Her son did not. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg reports.

Updated at 4:35 p.m.

The Supreme Court, with a newly constituted and far more conservative majority, took another look at Obamacare on Tuesday. But at the end of the day, even with three Trump appointees, the Affordable Care Act looked as though it may well survive.

To many, it may have seemed like déjà vu.

Obamacare is back before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, with opponents challenging it for a third time. The first attempts to derail the law failed in the high court by votes of 5-to-4 and 6-to-3. But the makeup of the court is very different now, with three justices appointed by President Trump – among them new Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Before her nomination, Barrett consistently criticized the court's two previous decisions, a critique that Senate Democrats repeatedly bludgeoned her with at her confirmation hearings.

Elections come and go, but Supreme Court decisions can last forever. One of those potentially pivotal cases is before the court Wednesday. A case both poignant and profound, it pits the rights of a city to enforce its anti-discrimination policies in contracting against the rights of religious groups.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused, for a second time, a Republican Party effort to block a three-day extension for receiving absentee ballots in Pennsylvania. That means that at least until after the election, the court will not intervene in the way the state conducts its vote count.

The court in a second case from North Carolina, also refused late Wednesday to block a similar extension of time to count votes, an extension put into place by the state election board.

Updated at 12:26 p.m. ET

Amy Coney Barrett became the 115th Supreme Court justice Tuesday when Chief Justice John Roberts administered the judicial oath of office in a private ceremony at the court. Barrett immediately was faced with an unusual motion seeking her recusal in an election procedures case currently pending before the court from Pennsylvania.

The Supreme Court has sided with Alabama state officials who banned curbside voting intended to accommodate individuals with disabilities and those at risk from the COVID-19 virus.

The high court issued its order Wednesday night, without explanation, over the dissent of the court's three liberal justices.

At issue was the decision by the Alabama secretary of state to ban counties from allowing curbside voting, even for those voters with disabilities and those for whom COVID-19 is disproportionately likely to be fatal.

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Joining us now is NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

Nina, welcome back.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: Hi.

There will be plenty of firsts on Monday as the Senate Judiciary Committee opens hearings on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is the first time that a confirmation hearing is taking place amid a pandemic and with two committee members, both Republicans, recently having tested positive for the coronavirus.

It is also the first time that a confirmation hearing is taking place at the same time early voting has begun in many states, and in a presidential election year.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused, for now, to reimpose FDA regulations that require women seeking medication abortion to pick up the prescribed pills in person at a clinic instead of by mail.

The court's decision came Thursday night on a 6-to-2 vote that rejected an emergency appeal from the Trump administration.

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The U.S. Supreme Court opened a new term today with Chief Justice John Roberts giving a short tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito issued a broadside against the high court's 2015 same-sex marriage decision on Monday when the court declined to hear a case brought by a former Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue a marriage license for such couples.

The U.S. Supreme Court opens a new court term Monday, while across the street at the Capitol, Republicans are seeking to jam through, before the Nov. 3 election, President Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the court.

Trump offered Barrett the nomination just two days after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. And since then, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has been leading the GOP charge to get Barrett confirmed before Election Day.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court seat made vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has a relatively short record as a federal judge, but a long track record as a conservative lawyer and law professor.

President Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court seat made vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is seen as a home run for conservatives. It is a chance to move the high court in a far more aggressively conservative direction for generations.

In political terms, Barrett is the dream candidate for conservative Republicans and the nightmare candidate for Democrats.

For Republicans, the 48-year-old is a young and personally unassailable nominee.

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Earlier this evening, President Trump ended the speculation when he announced his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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