Judging from news reports last week when a judge ordered the White House to return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s hard pass, many were under the impression the drama was over. A closer look at the ruling shows his troubles were fixed temporarily. Now, the White House has told Acosta his hard pass would be revoked again in two weeks.
CNN has asked the U.S. District Court for another emergency hearing to extend the restraining order and compel the White House to maintain his pass.
“The White House is continuing to violate the First and 5th Amendments of the Constitution,” the network said in a statement. “These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. Jim Acosta and CNN will continue to report the news about the White House and the President.”
Contrary to popular belief, the temporary restraining order issued by Judge Timothy J. Kelly had nothing to do with the 1st Amendment. The judge issued the order because Acosta was not given due process, a 5th Amendment violation. This is why the White House immediately sent a letter to Acosta telling him they intended to suspend his hard pass again once the restraining order expired.
This is the start of a “paper trail” that helps the White House establish due process. In other words, they are contending that by explaining in writing why they revoked his pass originally, they are laying the groundwork for acceptable due process to satisfy Acosta’s 5th Amendment rights.
This may actually be enough to count as due process, assuming he is allowed to formally challenge the assertions of the letter. What’s more likely going to happen is that the White House will establish rules of conduct that can be used as grounds for suspending or revoking press credentials. If that’s the case, it’s very likely the White House will have to wait for Acosta to act out again before suspending him.
None of this has to do with the 1st Amendment, which has not been ruled on by a judge.
No matter what happens, Acosta is getting his wish. Unlike most reporters who do their job of reporting the news, Acosta likes to be the news. He craves attention. Whether he keeps his pass or not, he’ll maintain his victim status and remain in the spotlight.