The White House is ramping up its efforts to gain greater leniency in revoking the press passes of journalists who behave unprofessionally on the White House grounds, as reported by Politico.
A Justice Department lawyer, James Burnham, argued before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that the White House was well within its rights to revoke passes for inappropriate behavior, referring specifically to an event that took place last July where such a revocation was overturned by the courts.
In a summit on social media held that month, Playboy White House Correspondent and CNN contributor Brian Karem repeatedly insulted many of the gathered guests, claiming that those gathered in support of President Trump were “eager for demonic possession.” When former Trump aide and current radio host Sebastian Gorka questioned whether or not Karem was really a journalist, Karem challenged Gorka to a fight, telling him to “take this outside.”
Following the incident, the White House suspended Karem’s hard pass for 30 days. But a month later, a federal judge reversed the suspension and claimed, without evidence, that the ban violated his First Amendment rights, trying to justify it by saying that Karem should have received advanced notice of the rules for such behavior.
Burnham argued that Karem’s behavior was unacceptable regardless, saying that “there has always been an enforceable requirement that reporters with hard passes behave in a professional manner.”
Karem’s lawyer, Ted Boutrous, subsequently claimed that Karem’s behavior was justified because they believe that the White House has an “unruly, raucous, circus-like atmosphere,” and that “President Trump…creates that sort of atmosphere.”
The White House previously suspended CNN’s Jim Acosta after Acosta refused to give up his microphone during a briefing in 2018, and shoved a White House intern, a young woman, who was trying to take the microphone from him. His access was similarly restored by a left-wing federal judge, who also falsely claimed it violated Acosta’s First Amendment rights.