A federal judge in the United States on Friday ordered the White House to reinstate CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass, the news network reported. Judge Timothy Kelly did not pass any verdict in the case, but granted CNN’s request for a temporary restraining order against the White House’s action.
On November 7, the White House revoked the press pass issued to Acosta “until further notice”. The incident followed an interaction between President Donald Trump and Acosta, in which Trump called the reporter a “rude and terrible person” after he asked him several questions during a post midterm election press conference.
But Kelly, a judge appointed by Trump himself, said he believes that CNN and Acosta are likely to prevail in the case the news network had filed against Trump and five others. The judge’s order to the White House was based on CNN’s claim that the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution had been violated. However, the judge said he had not ruled on the network’s allegation that its First Amendment rights had been violated.
The First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the federal government from making laws abridging the freedom of the press. The Fifth Amendment protects individuals from being compelled to be witnesses against themselves in criminal cases.
Kelly said that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’ claim that Acosta had inappropriately touched an intern was “likely untrue” and “partly based on evidence of questionable accuracy”. He added that while he may not agree with the underlying case law on which CNN’s argument is based, he had to follow it.
“Let’s get back to work,” Acosta told his colleagues after the ruling.
“This is a great day for the First Amendment and journalism,” CNN’s advocate Ted Boutrous said. The network said it looked forward to “full resolution” of the case in the coming days.
Sanders said the White House would temporarily reinstate Acosta’s press pass. However, she added: “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.” She claimed that the ruling made it clear that there is no “absolute First Amendment right” to access to the White House.