Free Press: Revocation of Press Credentials for Jim Acosta

On November 13, 2018, Cable News Network (CNN) and Abilio James Acosta sued President Donald Trump, John Kelly, William Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and the United States Secret Service, alleging that the above listed defendants revoked Mr. Acosta’s White House credentials in violation of the 1st Amendment and the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. On the same day, CNN and Mr. Acosta also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction requiring the above listed defendants to restore Mr. Acosta’s credentials.

On November 16, 2018, US District Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a temporary restraining order. Judge Kelly ordered the White House to restore Mr. Acosta’s press credentials on the grounds that the defendants violated Mr. Acosta’s due process rights. CNN and Mr. Acosta argued, and the Judge agreed, that Mr. Acosta’s rights were violated because the revocation provided no “notice of the factual basis for denial, an opportunity for the applicant to respond to these, and a final written statement of the reasons for denial.” See Sherrill v. Knight, 569 F.2d 124, 130 (D.C. Circuit 1977)  CNN and Mr. Acosta also argued that viewpoint discrimination is in violation of the 1st Amendment. However, the Judge declared, for now, not to directly address the 1st Amendment claims.

Stay tuned for further developments on this case.

For further discussion of the importance and history of freedom of the press, see “Every Journalist Is at Risk at the Trump White House.”