Judge Rules Against Trump Administration’s Attempt to Suspend Press Credentials

Published on September 4, 2019 by Athena Pallas

A U.S. District Court judge has ordered the Trump administration to reinstate the press credentials of a White House reporter that the administration had suspended. Judge Rudolph Contreras yesterday issued an order granting Playboy reporter Brian Karem’s request for an injunction to stop the suspension of Karem’s White House press credentials. The White House had suspended Karem’s press credentials for 30 days, a suspension which, absent yesterday’s court order, would have continued through September 14.

The suspension, as announced by White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, came after a White House Rose Garden event President Trump hosted around his allegations of media bias against conservative viewpoints. At that event Karem got into a heated exchange with far right conservative Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump adviser. The White House argued that Karem was the aggressor; others have argued that Gorka was. Many, including Judge Contreras, saw the White House’s attempt to suspend Karem’s press credentials as an infringement of his First Amendment rights and some also saw it as an attempt to silence voices critical of the Trump administration. According to The Hill:

A U.S. district judge on Tuesday ordered the White House to restore Playboy correspondent Brian Karem’s press credentials after the administration said last month it was revoking his hard pass. Judge Rudolph Contreras said in a court order that he was granting Karem’s motion for a preliminary injunction to block the White House’s move. … Contreras wrote in a 24-page opinion that the White House did not provide the required guidance as to what would warrant the suspension of a hard pass outside a press conference setting and that Karem was likely to succeed on the grounds of his due process claim. “Meanwhile, Karem has shown that even the temporary suspension of his pass inflicts irreparable harm on his First Amendment rights,” the judge wrote. …Karem celebrated the ruling on Twitter. “God bless the Constitution, free speech, due process and ⁦@BoutrousTed and his great legal team,” he tweeted, tagging his lawyer.

The White House, as you might imagine, was not happy with the ruling, indicating in a statement, according to The Hill, “We disagree with the decision of the district court to issue an injunction that essentially gives free reign to members of the press to engage in unprofessional, disruptive conduct at the White House.” The White House Correspondents Association, however, celebrated the ruling along with Karem.

This incident is reminiscent of the Trump administration’s revocation last year of the White House press credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta, a revocation which was also stopped by a federal judge’s ruling.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.