The Radio Television Digital News Association and its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force today applauded U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly’s ruling ordering the Trump administration to reinstate, at least temporarily, CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials.
Kelly’s ruling, issued in Washington, D.C., requires the White House to readmit Acosta to the White House grounds and anywhere else the president may be located pending other, upcoming hearings on CNN’s request for permanent injunctive relief.
In a lawsuit filed November 13, CNN and Acosta argued that that the president and five others – including Chief of Staff John Kelly and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders – violated Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and Fifth Amendment rights of due process.
Acosta’s “hard pass” was confiscated by a U.S. Secret Service officer November 9, hours after a contentious news conference in which Sanders initially alleged the correspondent had assaulted an intern who attempted to take a microphone from his hands. Sanders’ later statements omitted reference to the alleged assault, after the video on which she had based her claim was shown to have been altered.
“Today’s ruling upholds fundamental tenets of our Constitution and has an effect on all journalists, not just Jim Acosta. If the White House’s draconian revocation of Acosta’s credentials had not been reversed, it would have had a chilling consequence for all journalists, giving license to other federal and local elected and public officials to curtail access to journalists whose questions and methods they don’t like,” said Dan Shelley, RTDNA Executive Director.
“We are cautiously optimistic that Judge Kelly, a Trump appointee to the federal bench, will ultimately rule that Acosta’s credentials should be permanently returned to him,” Shelley added.
RTDNA and other press freedom groups have voiced their support for CNN’s lawsuit. More than a dozen major news organizations, including Fox News, filed a “friend of the court” brief advocating on behalf of CNN and Acosta.
RTDNA formed the nonpartisan Voice of the First Amendment Task Force to defend against threats to the First Amendment and news media access, and to help the public better understand why responsible journalism is essential to their daily lives. RTDNA is a founding partner of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, the archive of record for threats against press freedom in America. Reach out to RTDNA by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.