Last week CNN’s Jim Acosta had his White House hard pass revoked after an altercation with a female intern. While it’s no surprise that CNN subsequently filed a lawsuit against President Trump, it might be surprising that Fox News is supporting them.
According to Axois, “Fox News is supporting CNN’s lawsuit against the Trump administration over the White House’s revocation of Jim Acosta’s press pass and plans to file an amicus brief in the case, according to a statement from the network’s president Jay Wallace.”
Fox said in a statement:
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. 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.”
Fox’s Judge Napolitano said on the air that he believes CNN will prevail in the case. “I think CNN’s got a very good case. I think this will be resolved quickly” he said on Fox Business.
The basis of CNN’s lawsuit
CNN’s lawsuit is argued on First Amendment grounds, citing a 1977 D.C. Circuit Court case (Sherrill v. H. Knight) as precedent. The case determined that while the public doesn’t have a right to White House access, the First Amendment does prohibit denial of a press pass for “arbitrarily or for less than compelling reasons.”
So in that regard, it’s up to whether or not a judge agrees that Acosta’s ban was arbitrary or for a compelling reason. One could reasonably argue that if Trump wanted to arbitrarily revoke Acosta’s press pass for being an annoying thorn in his side, it’s something he would’ve done long ago. In that light, it could be strongly argued it was Acosta’s altercation with the female intern that’s the cause of his suspended credentials, though Trump didn’t do himself any favors when he said more suspensions could be coming.
Many legal experts do think Trump will lose this case if argued on First Amendment grounds.
I’m no legal expert so I can’t weigh the merit of those claims, but Judge Timothy J. Kelly will. Kelly was appointed to the federal bench by Trump last year. A hearing is being held today which will determine whether or not CNN will be granted a preliminary injunction to restore Acosta’s hard pass.