WASHINGTON – A federal judge ordered the White House on Friday to temporarily reinstate the credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta pending a final ruling on the network’s lawsuit against the Trump administration.
“This is a great day for the First Amendment and journalism,” Ted Boutrous, an attorney representing CNN, said outside the courtroom after Judge Timothy J. Kelly granted the network’s request for a temporary restraining order requiring the White House to restore Acosta’s access.
Kelly said he based his ruling on CNN’s argument that the summary withdrawal of Acosta’s credentials was a violation of his due process rights under the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution.
The judge emphasized he was not offering an opinion on CNN’s contention that the lifting of the pass infringed the First Amendment, which provides for the freedom of the press.
“The court made clear that there is no absolute First Amendment right to access the White House. 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,” Trump administration press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
“There must be decorum at the White House,” she said.
When the White House suspended Acosta’s pass last week, it claimed he had placed his hands on a female intern who was trying to take the microphone from him after Trump indicated he was no longer taking his questions during a contentious press conference.
But video of the altercation showed only incidental contact between the reporter and the intern.
CNN filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, and the following day saw 13 other media outlets, including the generally pro-Trump Fox News, submit amicus briefs in support of the suit.