Wednesday, September 4, 2019

TWH Pushes Back After Judge's Ruling

Brian Karem
The White House said Tuesday it disagreed with a federal judge in Washington and ordered officials to reinstate Playboy journalist Brian Karem's credentials, which had been revoked following his altercation with former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka.

According to Fox News, the ruling by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, a Barack Obama appointee, marked the second time a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to reinstate a reporter's pass.

"The First Amendment requires 'that individual newsmen not be arbitrarily excluded from sources of information,'" Contreras wrote in his opinion, citing federal case law. "His First Amendment interest depends on his ability to freely pursue 'journalistically productive conversations with White House officials.' Yet without his hard pass, he lacks access to pursue those conversations -- even as an eavesdropper."

In issuing a temporary restraining order and injunction against the White House, Contreras said that the White House's guidelines for appropriate behavior were insufficient and vague. Contreras' decision, although not yet a final ruling, signaled that he believed Karem ultimately would prevail.

Gorka faces Karem
“White House events appear to vary greatly in character,” the judge wrote, adding that "without any contextual guideposts, ‘professionalism,’ standing alone, remains too murky to provide fair notice here. ... "Karem has provided some evidence that White House press events are often freewheeling and that aggressive conduct has long been tolerated without punishment."

The judge concluded: "Karem has shown that even the temporary suspension of his pass inflicts irreparable harm on his First Amendment rights."

Following Tuesday's ruling, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the White House to be able to deter unprofessional behavior on the grounds of the Executive Mansion.

“We disagree with the decision of the district court to issue an injunction that essentially gives free rein to members of the press to engage in unprofessional, disruptive conduct at the White House," Grisham said. "Mr. Karem’s conduct, including threatening to escalate a verbal confrontation into a physical one to the point that a Secret Service agent intervened, clearly breached well-understood norms of professional conduct. The Press Secretary must have the ability to deter such unacceptable conduct."

Gorka and Karem got into a shouting match that was captured on video July 11, after Karem described the participants in a White House meeting of conservative social media personalities as a "group of people that are eager for demonic possession."

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