Georgetown backs CNN, Jim Acosta in White House lawsuit

Georgetown University’s law institute filed an amicus brief Tuesday in support of the recently announced lawsuit by CNN against the White House.

The Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit filed by CNN and reporter Jim Acosta, against the White House after Acosta’s press credentials were removed.

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“To dislike Acosta’s and CNN’s reporting is President Trump’s prerogative,” the brief argues. “But to retaliate against them by revoking Acosta’s White House security credentials (sometimes called a ‘hard pass’) tramples on the Constitution.”

“Such retaliatory action not only harms CNN and Acosta but also aims to chill the constitutionally protected speech and newsgathering activity of other journalists whom the public depends upon to question government officials vigorously and to report candidly on the responses,” the document continues. 

The document argues the initial White House claim that Acosta physically placed his hands on a White House intern, who was attempting to take the microphone away from him, was a “pretextual” excuse.

“The President’s own words to Acosta reveal what really prompted the revocation of Acosta’s credentials: the White House’s dislike of what it views as Acosta’s aggressive questioning of senior government officials, and his blunt—and sometimes critical— coverage of the Trump administration,” the Georgetown brief continues.

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“President Trump’s attacks on the press show no signs of relenting. Indeed, he has publicly said that ‘it could be others also,’ in addition to Acosta, who lose their White House security credentials, presumably based on how they, too, exercise their First Amendment rights to ask probing questions and report on the President and his administration.”

The brief argues that the President’s remarks against the media, as well as the revoked credentials, “chill reporting by other journalists and news organizations who cover the Trump administration, thus harming them and the public that depends on the press to monitor what democratically elected leaders are saying and doing.” 

Georgetown University and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment in time for publication. 

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