Judge: White House Has To Reinstate Jim Acosta’s Press Pass

Amber Athey | Media and Breaking News Editor

A judge issued an injunction on Friday morning ordering the White House to reinstate CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press pass, arguing that Acosta’s First Amendment rights trump the White House’s right to an orderly press room.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly was initially expected to make an announcement in the case on Thursday at 3 p.m. EST, but the announcement was delayed until Friday morning.

Kelly agreed with the White House that there is no First Amendment right to be on the White House grounds, but added that Acosta did not receive due process before his pass was revoked.

Judge Kelly, who was nominated by Trump in 2017, further explained that the president is not required to call on Acosta at press events but that Acosta’s First Amendment rights are more important than the White House being able to have orderly press conferences.

The case, however, is not over. Judge Kelly provided temporary relief to CNN, but there will be additional hearings before an official ruling is handed down on whether the White House violated CNN’s First and Fifth Amendment rights.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that the administration would follow the judge’s order, and she called for “decorum” at press events.

“Today, the court made clear that there is no absolute First Amendment right to access the White House,” Sanders said. “In response to the court, we will temporarily reinstate the reporter’s hard pass. We will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future. There must be decorum at the White House.”

CNN filed suit earlier this week claiming that the Trump administration was violating their First and Fifth Amendment rights by revoking chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials.

The White House took away Acosta’s hard pass last week after he got involved in a contentious exchange with President Donald Trump during a post-midterm press conference. Acosta refused to surrender the microphone to an intern after asking several questions, and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders accused him of placing his hands on the intern.

“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” CNN said in a statement, asking the court for a restraining order to have Acosta’s pass returned and permanent relief.

Multiple news outlets, including Fox News and The Washington Post, filed amicus briefs supporting CNN.

“FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized,” Fox News President Jay Wallace said in a statement.

Trump told The Daily Caller in an exclusive interview on Wednesday that he believes Acosta is a “grandstander” who lacks respect for the White House and to other reporters.

“He’s actually more disrespectful, I think, to the rest of the media,” Trump said. “Because he gets up and grandstands and he wants to ask three or four questions and everyone else is, you know, you’re trying to get one question in and the room was packed with a couple of hundred people that want to ask questions.”

The president did not sound particularly confident in the suit, explaining that he thinks the White House should win but “We’ll see how the court rules.”

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