Nina Totenberg

NPR Correspondent Nina Totenberg

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Special guest NPR reporter Nina Totenberg discusses her fifty-year career covering some of the most important US Supreme Court decisions of our time.

The leak of the “Dobbs” decision has probably had the most significant effect on the strained relationships between the current Supreme Court Justices.”

— NPR Correspondent Nina Totenberg

MONTEREY/SANTA BARBARA, CA, UNITED STATES, September 2, 2023/ — SideBar podcast on The Legal Talk Network welcomes the legendary NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg as a special guest discussing her fifty-year career as a reporter covering some of the most important Supreme Court decisions of our time. The SideBar episode with Totenberg will be published on Tuesday, September 5, 2023.

As a front-row witness to history, with unique access to Supreme Court Justices and Washington D.C. policymakers, Nina joins SideBar cohosts Jackie Gardina and Mitch Winick to discuss the importance of building relationships – with the Court – within the Court – and most importantly, with the public. Along with Susan Stamberg, Cokie Roberts, and Linda Wertheimer, Nina was one of the “Four Mothers of National Public Radio” who laid the foundation of one of the most respected news organizations in America.

Totenberg is the author of the highly acclaimed, “Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships”. An articulate storyteller and award-winning reporter, Totenberg discusses both the struggles and successes of her distinguished career in journalism, her friendship of almost fifty years with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and her unique perspectives on the current U.S. Supreme Court.

Co-host Jackie Gardina, dean of The Colleges of Law, noted, “As a huge fan of Nina’s reporting, it was particularly fascinating to talk with her about how she responded to claims that her long-standing and close personal relationship with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg created an ethical challenge to her role as a Supreme Court correspondent for NPR.” Totenberg met Ginsberg nearly twenty-two years before she was appointed to the Supreme Court and over the following decades, the two women and their respective spouses became close, personal friends who celebrated and comforted each other through a lifetime of personal triumphs and tragedies. “I think our listeners will also be very interested to hear Nina’s candid observations about the relationships among the current justices and the ongoing controversy about the Court’s lack of a code of ethics,” said Gardina.

“Nina Totenberg provides such a unique perspective about the Supreme Court,” said cohost Mitchel Winick, dean of Monterey College of Law. “As she discussed with Jackie and me on this episode of SideBar, the current Court is the first one that she has covered that lacks an ideological ‘center’ to moderate it from veering far right or left in its legal and policy decision-making.” As a result, she candidly observes that with a firm 6-3 conservative majority, we are likely to continue to see controversial decisions that reflect the conservative, religious, and political leanings of the current justices.

“Given her incredible depth of understanding about the Supreme Court and its landmark decisions,” said Gardina, “I think that listeners will be surprised that Nina is not a lawyer.” However, that has not proven to be a barrier to her distinguished career as a legal affairs correspondent. Totenberg is 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 and has been honored seven times by the American Bar Association for continued excellence in legal reporting. In 1988, Totenberg won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her coverage of Supreme Court nominations and was named Broadcaster of the Year and honored with the 1998 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the National Press Foundation as the first radio journalist to receive the award.

Totenberg’s coverage of the Supreme Court and legal affairs has won her widespread recognition. 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 Totenberg’s coverage of both the original hearings and the inquiry into Anita Hill’s allegations.

To listen to Nina Totenberg’s SideBar episode with law deans Jackie Gardina and Mitch Winick, hear previous episodes, read our blog, learn about future guests, and to contact the co-hosts with ideas, comments, or questions, go to

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