Fox News judicial correspondent Andrew Napolitano predicted on Tuesday that CNN would likely prevail in a case against the White House after it banned CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
Napolitano explained to Fox Business host Stuart Varney that the White House does not have the right to revoke Acosta’s press pass simply because his questions irritated President Donald Trump.
“This is a sweeping complaint filed by Ted Olson, who I usually associate with Republican causes,” Napolitano began. “It’s not looking for money damages. It’s looking for the immediate return of Jim Acosta’s credentials.”
“They are arguing that he was punished because the president doesn’t like his speech — that’s the First Amendment argument,” he continued, “that his credentials were taken away without any notice or hearing — that’s Fifth Amendment argument. And then they quote the regulations.”
According to Napolitano, a lack of decorum is not grounds for revoking someone’s press pass.
“The only grounds for revoking the pass are, is the person a danger to the physical security of the president or his family?” the former judge said. “And obviously, Acosta may have been an irritant to the president but he was hardly a danger to him!”
“So, I think CNN has got a very good case,” he added. “I think this will be resolved quickly. I don’t expect a jury trial. I think it will either be settled or CNN will prevail on the motion.”
Varney speculated that the White House would “change the rules” if Acosta prevailed in the case.
“The complaint is filled with Madisonian language that I love about the value of a free press to help Americans make free choices,” Napolitano pointed out.
“Yeah, but not the freedom to make a circus out of something,” Varney griped.
“You know, it’s part of the rough and tumble of the First Amendment,” Napolitano shrugged. “Remember Jefferson: ‘I would rather have newspapers without government than a government without newspapers.’ A bit hyperbolic but you can understand the value of the free press to the Founders.”