Judge tells White House to reinstate reporter’s pass

U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras issued a decision Tuesday evening granting a preliminary injunction restoring Karem’s so-called “hard pass” on the grounds that the reporter had no clear notice of the rules governing press behavior at events like the presidential appearance that preceded the heated exchange.

In imposing a 30-day suspension last month, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Karem’s behavior had violated widely accepted standards of “professionalism” and “decorum.” She also argued that the White House made those standards clear last November following an incident involving an effort by CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta to hang on to a microphone as a press aide sought to take it away.

However, Contreras said a four-decade-old federal appeals court precedent regarding White House press credentials requires that such rules be clear and that they be laid out in advance. He said it wasn’t clear that Grisham’s letter about Acosta applied at events others than formal press conferences — nor was it evident how one would apply the vague principles Grisham touted.