DC Appeals Court to Decide if White House Suspend Press Passes

‘There has always been an enforceable requirement that reporters with hard passes behave in a professional manner…’

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will decide if the White House can revoke press passes for journalists who disturb the peace.

In the situation under reviewPlayboy‘s White House reporter, Brian Karem, tried to ask President Donald Trump a question as he left a July event for major social media personalities.

Trump did not respond to the question, and guests reportedly insulted Karem.

Karem yelled in response, “This is a group of people who are eager for demonic possession.”

Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump aide, emerged from the crowd and told Karem, “You’re not a journalist. You’re a punk!”

Karem then threatened to fight Gorka, asking him if he wanted to take the conversation “outside,” at which point Secret Service agents intervened.

Playboy Reporter Sues White House For Revoking His Press Credentials

Brian Karem / IMAGE: CNN via Youtube

In August, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham suspended Karem’s press pass for 30 days for violating “decorum.”

U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras issued a preliminary injunction in September to reinstate Karem’s press pass. Contreras said the White House could not revoke Karem’s pass since it had not presented him with an official policy about expected behavior.

Justice Department attorney James Burnham said the White House does not need an official policy to suspend reporters who threaten guests.

“Every credentialed White House reporter, including Mr. Karem, knows perfectly well that they are not permitted to engage in unprofessional behavior on the White House grounds,” Burnham said. “There has always been an enforceable requirement that reporters with hard passes behave in a professional manner.”

Ted Boutrous, who represents Karem in the lawsuit, said Trump’s “carnival-like” White House makes reporters unsure of decorum.

He also said the White House’s authority to suspend press passes threatens the First Amendment.

Boutrous even tried to dispute the facts of the case as well by arguing that Karem’s desire to go “outside” was an authentic desire for “a long conversation” about the night’s events.

“That is an utterly preposterous explanation for what Mr. Karem engaged in here,” Burnham said.