The White House must restore the press credentials of CNN Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. So ruled the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Friday morning in a case that has become the first major legal challenge to the Trump Administration’s antagonistic relationship with the press.
The court granted CNN’s motion for a temporary order requiring that reporter Jim Acosta’s right of access to White House grounds be restored. Judge Timothy J. Kelly, himself a Trump appointee, determined that CNN showed a likelihood of proving that Acosta’s Fifth Amendment due process rights were violated when his hard press pass was revoked on November 7.
The decision means that Acosta’s credentials must be restored, at least temporarily. The suit will continue as CNN seeks a final declaration from the court that the revocation of Acosta’s press pass was unconstitutional, which would protect other reporters from retaliation by the administration.
NENPA has joined a friend-of-the-court brief backing CNN, which will be filed during the next stage of the proceedings. The amicus brief is on behalf of a wide spectrum of news organizations, including the Associated Press, Fox News, and The Washington Post.
“The relationship between the White House and the press corps that covers it is a testy one even in the best of times,” said NENPA’s general counsel, Rob Bertsche of Prince Lobel Tye. “But that is exactly what our Founders intended. Today’s decision reminds not just the White House, but government officials at the state and local levels as well, that the press has a constitutionally protected role in preserving our democracy. NENPA is committed to help ensure that journalists in New England and elsewhere maintain the right to confront encroachments on the First Amendment, wherever they occur.”