CNN and Jim Acosta won the battle over whether he will be allowed to have a White House issued hard press pass – for now. Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued the ruling Friday November 16, requiring Trump to return the pass. The judge did not rule on the underlying case, he simply granted the network’s request for a temporary restraining order.
CNN released the following statement:
“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.”
At press time, no comment has been released from President Trump, his Press Secretary, or administration lawyers about the ruling, including on whether the White House would file an emergency appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court itself.
CNN and Jim Acosta sued for a temporary restraining order requiring the White House to return or reissue Acosta’s press pass. The “hard pass” allows the bearer to enter White House areas as an employee might, not requiring as onerous a security check or an invitation or request for entrance.
Acosta surrendered his pass on demand from a Secret Service officer when he returned to the White House on November 7. Earlier in the day, he had refused to relinquish the microphone during a Trump press conference, continually arguing with the president. Trump addressed Acosta’s behavior at the time, telling the reporter directly that “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you work for them.”
Pressing First and Fifth Amendment claims, the suit contended that the White House revocation itself violated the First Amendment guarantee respecting the rights of Mr. Acosta and CNN to report the news. They further claimed that by revoking access without any notice or due process, and without an opportunity to appeal the decision, the White House violated Acosta’s Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process.
In oral arguments before the judge earlier this week, Deputy Assistant Attorney General James Burnham challenged the various assertions against the administration point by point. He argued that the White House was both the president’s residence and workspace and that no one besides the president had the legal right to enter the grounds.
This situation is far from over, and it remains to be seen just how far either side is willing to go in this saga.