CNN & Jim Acosta File First Amendment-Based Lawsuit Against Trump et al

President Trump attracts lawsuits like a magnet attracts iron filings. In a lawsuit filed November 13, 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, captioned Cable News Network, Inc. et al v. Donald J. Trump et al (U.S. Dist. Ct. D.C. Cir. filed Nov. 13, 2018), plaintiffs CNN and Jim Acosta accuse the defendants, including President Trump, of violating the First Amendment by revoking Mr. Acosta’s press pass in light of a volatile press meeting last week.

From the Complaint:

The Framers of our Constitution embraced a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” N.Y. Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964). The President lacks the authority to quash “[t]he sort of robust political debate encouraged by the First Amendment”— debate that is “bound to produce speech that is critical of those who hold public office.” Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46, 51 (1988). That is why the D.C. Circuit has been clear that “the protection afforded newsgathering under the first amendment guarantee of freedom of the press requires that … access [to White House press facilities] not be denied arbitrarily or for less than compelling reasons.” Sherrill v. Knight, 569 F.2d 124, 129 (D.C. Cir. 1977). And “notice … of the factual bases for denial [of access to White House press facilities] with an opportunity to rebut is a minimum prerequisite for ensuring that the denial is … [not] based on arbitrary or less than compelling reasons.” Id. at 131.

Plaintiffs bring this action to enforce this constitutional commitment, restore Acosta’s well-deserved press credentials, and ensure that the press remains free to question the government and to report the business of the nation to the American people.

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