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NPR's Nina Totenberg gives Columbia College ethics lecture

Nina Totenberg
Wikimedia Commons

Edward Snowden, contraception and health care were all topics brought up in Columbia College’s annual Ethics in Society lecture. This year’s lecture, called “The Supreme Court and Its Impact on You," was delivered Wednesday by veteran NPR correspondent, Nina Totenberg.

For a lot of ethics questions there is no perfect answer, according to Nina Totenberg. Totenberg has covered the Supreme Court on NPR for almost 40 years and shared some of her wisdom with audiences at Columbia College’s annual lecture.

A common theme in Totenberg’s presentation was that opinions change, because as she says, nobody fits perfectly into every slot.

Barbara Froke is not an expert on the Supreme Court, but after attending last night’s event, she found she learned a lot.

"Her perceptions of the court and what it’s doing now and the justices, you know I just, that’s not my milieu," Froke said. "So it was very interesting."

Totenberg said that, even though it’s the Supreme Court Justices’ job to decide what is constitutional, it can be difficult for them all to agree.

"But of course, Justices are supposed to strike down laws that are unconstitutional," Totenberg said. "So, where does that leave us? If you think I’ve got the answer to that, you are going to be sadly disappointed."

Totenberg said she’s interviewed both sides of the story, Democrats and Republicans, and sometimes she doesn’t feel either side has it figured out. Although, she admitted, she doesn’t have all the answers to that either.

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