CNN Reportedly Considering Lawsuit Over Acosta Access

200px-Cnn.svgI have previously criticized the White House for suspending the access of CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta.  While I believe that Acosta was wrong in refusing to yield the mike at a former press conference, the White House should restore his access.  That, however, does not mean that the suspension would be viewed as an actionable legal case.  CNN is reportedly considering such a lawsuit and Floyd Abrams, a constitutional law expert, is quoted as saying that CNN would have a “really strong lawsuit” against the White House.  I am not so confident despite my agreement with CNN on the merits of the action.  My concern is how a court would craft the standard for such review in having a right to a press pass.  Moreover, whatever due process claim can be raised, the burden is likely to be modest.

CNN itself has not been barred from the press conference or the White House.  A court would have to rule that the White House cannot suspend individuals for conduct deemed inappropriate.  Since the network itself is not barred, the lawsuit will face a greater challenge under the First Amendment.

CNN can argue that the action is based on the content of Acosta’s questions and not his conduct.  However, there was a refusal to allow another reporter ask a question and a refusal to surrender the mike.  There was also a continued effort to speak over the President.  While that is not unheard-of conduct, the question is whether a court would invite the opportunity to referee such internal decisions of access for individuals.

Presumably, the White House can remove or suspend individuals over disruptive conduct.  Here the White House is citing conduct.  The court could look into whether the rationale is clearly erroneous but few judges would view Article III as giving them a license to delve into levels of unacceptable conduct.  Most judges would certainly be interesting in any retaliation based on the content of journalistic questions. That however may be hard to establish here since Acosta has previously asked such questions and many other reporters continue to ask the same probative questions.

I am reluctant to disagree with Floyd but I would be less confident in such a challenge.

What do you think?



75 thoughts on “CNN Reportedly Considering Lawsuit Over Acosta Access”

  1. Off topic Update on Florida Senate election:

    For the lazy: “During the Canvassing Board meeting in Palm Beach County last Friday night, lawyers for both Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum OBJECTED to Palm Beach officials rejecting a ballot from a non-U.S. citizen.” This demostrates Both Democrats want non-citizens to vote diluting the vote of legal Florida voters.

    Recount Update: Day 2 – From Rick Scott Campaign

    You would think someone who’s spent 45 years writing laws (or at least trying to) would believe that laws apply to him. But not so with Bill Nelson. Here’s a quick summary of all the ways Bill Nelson seems to think the law should not apply to him:

    Nelson is requesting ballots which have already been considered and declared not legally cast instead be counted. This will be heard in court later this week.
    Bill Nelson and his campaign argued that 22 ballots that the Broward County SOE admitted were unlawful should be counted anyway.
    During the Canvassing Board meeting in Palm Beach County last Friday night, lawyers for both Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum OBJECTED to Palm Beach officials rejecting a ballot from a non-U.S. citizen.
    When the Broward County Canvassing Board continued counting ballots more than an hour after Saturday’s noon deadline – a clear violation of state law – the lawyer representing Bill Nelson’s campaign stood up and stated that their campaign is “not objecting” to the illegal activity.
    Bill Nelson also requested to halt last Saturday’s deadline for county canvassing boards to submit unofficial results of the election to the Florida Department of State. United States District Judge Robert Hinkle effectively denied this request.
    It’s clear that our lead is mathematically impossible to close without fraud…so Nelson and his DC lawyers are doing their best to count fraudulent ballots, laws be damned.

    As the recount process continues, so do the issues out of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Get an update on the Scott for Florida’s recent legal filings regarding yesterday’s concerns HERE.

  2. I’m surprised to see that revoking a press pass based on content would even be a First Amendment issue. If that’s the case, a White Supremacist or Marxist publication is entitled to a press pass and cannot lawfully be denied one based on those editorial positions.

    1. Acosta resisted and pushed back an intern take the mic to give another reporter a chance to take advantage of his right to Free Speech. Furthermore, Acosta interfered with the POTUS right to Free Speech. Acosta clearly did not want to ask a question. Rather, his agenda was to hurl accusations at the POTUS as thinly disguised as questions. Acosta intended to create an atmosphere of hostility. He also became the story. That is not journalism. It is a spokesman advocating for an agenda

  3. CNN is looking to the Federal Courts to invent some new “rights” for activist-journalists allowing them to harass and debate elected officials?
    The basic problem is in the respective levels of responsibility and accountability. Elected officials have weighty public responsibilities and a mechanism
    for being held accountable by voters. Activist journalists have comparatively little responsibility, and the voters have no say in whether they get to keep their job.
    By and large, audience abandonment is the only power the voters have over media personalities. In the case of CNN, Jeff Zucker has the lowest audience fraction
    among the 24-h cable channels, yet, he is not acting like things need to change.

    I just don’t see the Courts wanting to get involved in Jim Acosta’s time-out. No laws appear to have been broken. It’s rather a matter of the White House
    maintaining rules of decorum at a press briefing. What idiot Federal Judge would undermine that norm? (Don’t answer — MANY ACTIVIST JUDGES WOULD).

  4. I checked my pocket US Constitution, and it’s right there. Amendment 1B: Jim Acosta has a right to unfettered access to the WH.

  5. Acosta is an ASS. If he wants to give his opinion, get an opinion show or blog and see how many people are interested. How about White House reporters reporting on the facts of what was said and ask probing questions on how policy is formulated? He was interfering with other reporters attempt at asking questions. Good riddance.

  6. While I believe that Acosta was wrong in refusing to yield the mike at a former press conference, the White House should restore his access.

    Why Turley? Come on, you stated because CNN still has access that a 1st amendment challenge would be difficult. Did you not offer one legal reason for restoring Acosta’s access because there isn’t one? What’s next, the White House will be sued because a CNN reporter wasn’t called on to ask a question? Or they were allowed to ask but no answer was given? Or an answer was given but not to the liking of CNN? Are reporters going to be allowed to sue over seating assignments? How about the briefing times to correspond to the networks scheduling? If CNN can sue over their preferred reporter’s access, then why wouldn’t every reporter from every legitimate news outlet be able to sue to have access to the press briefings?

    1. well you see regular citizens can’t expect and that, but you must not have got the memo that REPORTERS ARE ABOVE US REGULAR CITIZENS

  7. His behavior is not in keeping with good order and respect for the Office of the President. Many of the media are very hostile toward not only the current administration but our system of government. There is an open and bitter war being waged against liberty and our President seems to be fighting it alone. I suggest that the Republicans demand an investigation of the media and the Communist interference in our ‘Free Press’ which is no longer so free.

  8. It’s a farce designed for ratings. No responsible Court is going to countenance Acosta’s aggressive self-aggrandizement. CNN isn’t banned only it’s manchild reporter. It’s a nonstarter on First Amendment grounds. What’s the remedy, btw? Make the President call on him? Let Acosta sit outside with a glass pressed to the door.

    1. Mespo, why even let Acosta get that close? Tell him to get a visitor’s pass if he wants access to the White House. He demostrated a nasty and potentially violent streak. Strip search him before he ever enters White House grounds. 🙂

        1. mespo – we know that Abilio Acosta had a bullhorn so he could harass Trump when he was in North Korea, so hiding a mic up his anus would not be out of line. A full body scan would be necessary.

    2. “It’s a farce designed for ratings.”

      Exactly. If it were not for Trump, CNN would be losing money.

      1. remember citizen kane? they dont care how much money they lose. it’s about the agenda. these are not normal for profit businesses

  9. It’s the President’s news conference. Aren’t those held at the President’s discretion and aren’t the persons there invited? Historically, not all press conferences or other engagements with the President were so open. IMO the President is being generous by permitting CNN to put someone in Acosta’s place.

    Of course CNN can sue the President and of course one can provide creative ideas why, but they can also sue a ham sandwich

  10. CNN will not file suit. They know they have no case but they get more eyeballs bu cheap stunts like getting a paid “expert” to comment.
    The sad part is how CNN has corrupted so many previously sane and respected individuals. Getting them to come on and say the most ridiculous things.
    Brennan – once respected intel official, now simply partisan hack.
    Toobin – once respected legal scholar, now race-baiting, hyperventilating idiot.
    David Frumm – once serious thinker and even keeped conservative, now driven insane by hate.
    Ana Navarro – once a thoughtful insider with the Bush family, now a female negative image of Sean Hannity
    Max Boot – well bad example. He was always a pathetic little man.

    1. bit of fake information. He did not put his hands on her in spite of Sanders doctored video and the woman in question is not an intern, she is a well paid part of the communications dept.

  11. Acosta has no “right” to a microphone at White House briefings. I have just as much right to ya into one. After all, I yak on this blog. Trump should just stick with Twitter and not hold any more so called “Press Conferences”. The so called “Press” is a bunch of jackels on TV and not reporters for literate newspapers who require a press machine.

    Twit, Twit, bo bick.
    Bananna fanna fo fick.
    Fee fi mo Mick!

  12. If the court hears Acosta/CNN case they could certainly hear a case of assault. He did in fact lay hand to that young intern. That kid has more proof then CBF had on Kavanaugh and all the Dums said he was guilty.

      1. @JH – Yes, what was that an Arm Bar she had him in, you must share with us the name of you Oculist.

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