A federal judge today ordered the Trump administration to immediately return, on a temporary basis, the press pass of CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed by Donald Trump a year ago to federal district court in Washington, said the White House must give the credential back temporarily to give Acosta a chance to persuade the administration that he should be allowed to keep it. He ruled that the Trump administration had most likely violated Mr. Acosta’s due process rights when it revoked his press badge after a testy exchange with Trump at a news conference last week.
“I want to emphasize the very limited nature of this ruling,” the judge said from the bench. “I have not determined that the First Amendment was violated here.”
White House Spokesperson Sanders, in a written statement, said the White House will be putting a list of procedures in place to allow for “decorum at the White House”.
I know what any good parent would say to such a response. ‘If you want decorum you need to first create it, yourself.’ That will be a near impossible task for Trump.
There has been an ongoing discussion in the nation about how the political and governing institutions must hold under the strains and chaos created by Trump. Some feared they could not hold, and the republic as we know it, would suffer harm at the foundation. Today, we have a strong piece of evidence to show that our checks and balances are still fully employed and doing the work our Founders envisioned. For that we can all be proud.
As to the larger issue of the First Amendment, it is vital we not relent on this matter. Make no mistake today was important. It was an important interim ruling. I stress, continuously, about the need for a free and independent press. There is no need for me to state that our nation has an out of control autocratic person in the Oval Office. Each day our nation’s core values, the rule of law, and democratic order are under attack. Absolutely we need to have a strong and vibrant Fourth Estate reporting facts and insight so to allow citizens knowledge of their government.
I applaud all the news operations around the nation who came to the defense of freedom of the press. There is a lesson here not to be missed. With resistance to unwarranted and illegal decisions we can force, through law, the corrupt ones to back down.
Long time readers to this blog know I love history. Therefore, the following makes for a perfect ending to this post. President John F. Kennedy spoke to the American Newspaper Publisher Association in 1961.
“Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed–and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment– the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants”–but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.”
And so it goes.