Judge Rules that White House Must ‘Immediately Restore’ Jim Acosta’s Hard Pass

Judge Timothy Kelly has finally ruled on whether or not to grant a temporary restraining order against the White House in the lawsuit brought against him by CNN and Jim Acosta. The cable network and their reporter sought relief that would force the White House to reinstate his hard pass and allow him to access the White House and resume coverage of press briefings, after he was ordered to turn over his pass last week. Judge Kelly originally planned on announcing his decision Thursday afternoon, but after delaying it until Friday morning, he finally ruled in favor of Acosta and CNN.

“I will order defendants immediately restore Mr. Acosta’s hard pass,” Judge Kelly said.

CNN and Acosta had argued in court filings that suspending Acosta’s hard pass violated their First and Fifth Amendment rights by restricting freedom of the press and not affording them due process. They also claimed that the decision violated the Administrative Procedure Act, alleging that this was an improper final decision by a government agency. The White House denied that any such violation occurred, claiming that the president has broad power to pull press passes, and that this decision was justified based on Acosta’s disruptive behavior at a recent press conference given by President Donald Trump. They further argued that there was no such First Amendment concern, as Acosta was still free to report from outside the White House, and CNN still had dozens of other reporters with hard passes.

Judge Kelly agreed with the plaintiffs that the White House did not give Acosta due process by simply having a Secret Service officer demand his hard pass without any prior notice or opportunity to respond.

The lawsuit still continues, and it remains to be seen whether the final outcome of the case will be consistent with this ruling. In the meantime, however, Acosta will be able to continue reporting from inside the White House.

[Image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images]

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