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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.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The ripples from President Trump's recent tweet suggesting he could pardon himself continue to billow out into the body politic.

No president in the history of this country has ever pardoned himself, though President Nixon, and perhaps others, may have contemplated it. Presidents Clinton and George H.W. Bush were each under investigation by a special prosecutor as their terms drew to a close, but neither chose to pardon himself.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

President Trump recently tweeted an unusual suggestion - all agree the U.S. president has the complete power to pardon. Which raised the question, can the president pardon himself? Legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg went to find that out.

On a party-line vote, the U.S. Senate voted Thursday to confirm President Trump's most controversial judicial nominee to date.

He is John Bush, a Kentucky lawyer and political blogger whose posts disparaged gay rights and compared the Supreme Court's abortion decision in Roe v. Wade to its pro-slavery 1857 Dred Scott decision.

And he is now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

The headlines get more breathless by the moment. "Explosive new charges!" "A bombshell!"

Was it a crime for Donald Trump Jr. to meet with a Russian government-connected lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton for use in the presidential campaign? Was it worse than a crime? Was it treason?

The latest Russian caper — this one involving the president's son, then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner — has Washington (pardon the pun) atwitter.

By now, we can probably say that Justice Anthony Kennedy is not retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court. The word "probably" is apt because nothing is certain about the plans of this or any other Supreme Court justice when it comes to ending his or her service on the nation's highest court.

But this week, the court wrapped up the current term, and Kennedy, who turns 81 in July, seems to have decided to stay on the job — at least for the coming term.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that taxpayer-funded grants for playgrounds available to nonprofits under a state program could not be denied to a school run by a church.

"The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

In a major property rights decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a decisive victory to state and local governments and environmental groups.

By a 5-to-3 vote, the justices made it much harder for property owners to get compensation from the government when zoning regulations restrict the use of just part of landowners' property.

The U.S. Supreme Court, forging its way to the end of the current term, unloaded a raft of important decisions Monday, with many more expected in the days to come. At the same time, the court agreed to hear a case next term that will test whether there is a constitutional limit to how much partisanship can be used to draw legislative maps.

Among Monday's decisions were these:

"The Case of the Bloviating Bloggers."

That might be an apt title for the mini-drama that took place Wednesday when two judicial nominees came before the Senate Judiciary Committee, among the first batch President Trump has sent to the Senate for confirmation.

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a federal law based on what the justices called "stunning stereotypes" — among them that most men care little about their children born out of wedlock.

Under the law, a child born abroad to an unwed American mother automatically becomes a U.S. citizen if the mother previously lived in the U.S. for a period of at least one year.

In contrast, the child of an unwed father can't become a U.S. citizen unless the father has lived in the U.S. for a continuous period of five years, two of them when he was over the age of 14.

By day, Don McGahn is a straight-laced lawyer, but by night, he's a long-haired rocker.

President Trump has been tweeting about a federal court ruling that temporarily blocked his plan to suspend funding for "sanctuary cities."

These are cities — among them New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and San Francisco — that have limited their cooperation with federal immigration authorities. For example, they may refuse to detain people who are in the U.S. illegally on behalf of the federal agents.

Now, the Trump tweets:

As a hurry-up execution schedule plays out in Arkansas this week, the U.S. Supreme Court and Arkansas Supreme Court have stepped in to block two of the eight executions initially scheduled for an 11-day period.

In a time of high drama over executions in Arkansas, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case that could determine the fate of two of the condemned men in the Razorback state, as well as others on death row elsewhere.

At issue is whether an indigent defendant whose sanity is a significant factor in his trial, is entitled to assistance from a mental health expert witness who is independent of the prosecutors.

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