A federal judge Friday ordered the White House to reinstate the press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, whose pass was revoked after a heated exchange with President Donald Trump.
Judge Timothy Kelly issued a temporary restraining order that requires the White House to restore Acosta’s access until a full hearing is held, according to the network.
CNN and other media groups, including Trump favorite Fox News, backed the lawsuit, which claimed that revoking Acosta’s pass violated constitutional guarantees of a free press.
Kelly said that his ruling was based on “due process” for the journalist and that he would hold additional proceedings on the constitutional issues at stake, including the First Amendment free press guarantee.
“I want to be very clear that I have not determined that the First Amendment was violated,” he said in the Washington courtroom.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said “in response to the court, we will temporarily reinstate the reporter’s hard pass.” But she left open the possibility of seeking to remove Acosta’s access later and said new rules would be imposed “to ensure fair and orderly press conferences.”
CNN lawyers argued in court Wednesday that the White House violated Acosta’s First Amendment right to free speech in revoking his credentials.
The U.S. Justice Department’s lawyer, James Burnham, countered that Acosta had “disrupted” last week’s news conference. Burnham insisted “there is no First Amendment right to access the White House.”
Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, angered Trump when he persisted in questioning the president at a November 7 news conference, ignoring demands he yields the microphone.
From the podium, Trump called Acosta — a frequent target of his ire — a “rude, terrible person.”