White House Files Motion in CNN Lawsuit: ‘No Journalist Has a First Amendment Right to Enter the White House’

By Melanie Arter | November 14, 2018 | 4:54pm EST
CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta asks President Donald Trump questions at a press conference. (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com) - The White House responded Wednesday to a lawsuit filed by CNN over the revocation of White House Correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass, asking the U.S. District Court of District of Columbia to dismiss CNN’s claim that the decision violated the Constitution.

The White House’s lawyers filed a motion claiming that Acosta “disrupted the fair and orderly administration of a press conference” by refusing to give back the microphone to a White House intern when President Donald Trump refused to answer any more of his questions.

“No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House and the President need not survive First Amendment scrutiny whenever he exercises his discretion to deny an individual journalist one of the many hundreds of passes granting on-demand access to the White House complex,” the motion stated.

CNN and Acosta did not prove there was “irreparable” harm necessary for such a claim, the attorneys said. In addition, there are about 50 other CNN staffers who do have hard passes to the White House.

 

“The public interest does not require that Mr. Acosta be given immediate access to the White House complex. The public can benefit from his reporting from outside the complex during preliminary injunction briefing, and is additionally well-served by the numerous other journalists who retain their hard passes and who will continue to tenaciously ask questions at press events, just as they have done since the revocation of Mr. Acosta’s pass,” the White House said.

Furthermore, revoking Acosta’s hard pass was necessary because his behavior "impedes other reporters from asking questions provides a more-than-sufficient reason for revoking his hard pass.”

Meanwhile, Fox News filed an amicus brief in the caseWednesday.

“Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court,” Fox News President Jay Wallace said in a statement Wednesday. “Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized.

“While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people,” Wallace said.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, Acosta’s White House press credentials were suspended last week after he refused to give the microphone back to a White House intern during a press conference with Trump when Trump refused to answer any more of Acosta’s questions.

Sanders said at the time that the White House will “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young women just trying to do her job as a White House intern.” She called his behavior “absolutely unacceptable” and disrespectful to other reporters he refused to allow to ask their questions.

Six people are named in the lawsuit because of their roles in enforcing and announcing Acosta’s suspension. CNN and Acosta are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The six defendants are Trump, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Bill Shine, Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy, and the Secret Service officer who took Acosta’s hard pass away identified only as John Doe in the lawsuit.

 

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