After a one day postponement, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly, a Trump-appointed federal judge, has ruled in favor of CNN in its motion for a temporary restraining order against the Trump administration’s ban on Jim Acosta‘s White House press access.
The White House must reinstate Acosta’s hard pass, for now.
The judge said that the plaintiff (CNN) showed that Fifth Amendment right to due process was likely violated, and “harm” would occur. “I find the harm to Mr. Acosta in sustaining an ongoing violation of his Fifth Amendment due process rights outweighs the government’s interest in orderly, respectful press conferences,” ruled Judge Kelly.
The judge told attorneys for the Trump administration that the White House has to establish rules to justify taking away a pass to cover the White House.
It’s worth remembering that this is just an injunction, and hasn’t totally been resolved.
The judge focused more on the due process violation, and seemed to steer clear of considering CNN’s argument regarding violation of viewpoint or content discrimination (First Amendment), which is sort of interesting.
CNN sued the White House on Tuesday, specifically President Donald J. Trump, Trump’s chief of staff John F. Kelly, Trump’s comms director Bill Shine, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and the United States Secret Service, Secret Service director Randolph Alles, and Secret Service agent John Doe, saying the administration “violated CNN and Jim Acosta‘s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and Fifth Amendment rights to due process” when deciding to revoke Acosta’s “hard pass” hours after the notorious post-midterms press conference on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
“If the president wants to exclude all reporters from the White House grounds, he has the authority to do that,” Deputy assistant attorney general James Burnham said during the Wednesday hearing. “There’s no First Amendment right.”
CNN and Acosta garnered support for its lawsuit from a significant number of news outlets in recent days, many of which, including Fox News Channel, filed friend-of-the-court briefs on CNN’s behalf.
Here’s CNN’s reaction to the ruling:
Statement from CNN and @Acosta on today’s ruling: “We are gratified with this result and we look forward to a full resolution in the coming days. Our sincere thanks to all who have supported not just CNN, but a free, strong and independent American press.”
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) November 16, 2018