November 13, 2018

ABA Legal Fact Check explores history of White House conflict media over credentials

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2018 — With CNN challenging the suspension of the White House media pass for one of its reporters, the American Bar Association posted today a new ABA Legal Fact Check exploring the history and case law of the conflict between the White House and the media over credentials.

A half century ago, the Secret Service periodically denied media credentials for niche or alternative media. This led to federal lower court rulings in the 1970s that tested whether the White House had the authority to deny a “hard pass” for a reporter and on what grounds. While the cases never reached the U.S. Supreme Court, lower court judges cited both First and Fifth Amendment grounds in ruling for reporters and against the Secret Service. CNN’s lawyers cited similar First and Fifth Amendment grounds in arguing on behalf of its reporter.

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to sometimes confusing legal questions and issues. For coverage of other timely issues in the news, these prior ABA Legal Fact Checks might be helpful:

  • Click here on the legal history of U.S. birthright citizenship.
  • Click here on what legally constitutes the crime of treason.
  • Click here on whether White House confidentiality agreements can be enforced.
  • Click here for an ABA Legal Fact Check on under what circumstances, if any, would a president be above the law.
  • Click here for an ABA Legal Fact Check on the authority of a president to issue pardons.

The URL for the site is www.abalegalfactcheck.com. Follow us on Twitter @ABAFactCheck.

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