Springing to Action to Protect Free Press

When the White House revoked Jim Acosta’s press pass after trying to stop Acosta from asking tough but fair questions, it was clear that key First Amendment principles were at stake.  Journalists must be able to cover the White House without fear of retribution.

I along with my colleagues at Gibson Dunn and the CNN team immediately sprung in to action, filing a motion for a temporary restraining order within mere days.  The court granted the motion, holding that the White House had violated Acosta’s constitutional rights by stripping his press pass without due process.  The court found that the White House’s original justification for the revocation was “likely untrue,” and that its decision-making process was “shrouded in mystery.”  The court confirmed that Acosta had a First Amendment liberty interest in his pass.  After the court granted the TRO, the White House permanently restored the press pass, resulting in total victory after seven days of litigation.

-Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and global Co-Chair of the firm’s Litigation Group

Theodore J. Boutrous is being honored by the Hugh Hefner Foundation in the law category for his work on behalf of CNN and Jim Acosta in connection with the restoration of Acosta’s White House press credentials.