White House Press Corps Member Files Lawsuit Against Karine Jean-Pierre and Secret Service

In a recent development, a member of the White House press corps, Simon Ateba, has taken legal action against White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and the Secret Service, alleging unjust revocation of his press badge. Ateba, an African journalist representing Today News Africa, claims that the White House’s revised policy for revoking press access infringes upon his First and Fifth Amendment rights. The lawsuit, filed on Thursday, argues that the changes made to the credentialing criteria were deliberately aimed at preventing Ateba from obtaining a hard pass, thereby constituting content-based and viewpoint discrimination that violates his First Amendment rights.

President Biden’s administration introduced new rules in May, marking the first instance in which press badges could be rescinded. Ateba asserts that these changes were employed to exclude him from eligibility, thereby obstructing his ability to freely access the White House briefing room and press area. As of now, there are 975 reporters possessing White House hard passes, which grant them unfettered access to these areas. Those without hard passes must request day passes for specific dates, a process that involves contacting the White House.

Ateba’s lawsuit follows his claim that his press pass expired on July 31 and he has been unable to renew it since. His frustration came to a head in March when he confronted Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during a briefing that coincided with the presence of the celebrity cast of “Ted Lasso” at the White House. Ateba’s main grievance at the time revolved around his inability to ask questions over a seven-month period, emphasizing his belief that the White House had unfairly discriminated against him and other reporters.

In his address to Jean-Pierre during the March 20 briefing, Ateba passionately stated, “This is not China. This is not Russia. What you are doing, you’re making a mockery of the First Amendment.” This sentiment underscores Ateba’s steadfast stance on his rights as a journalist and the importance of an open and transparent press environment, free from discrimination.

As of now, the White House has not issued an immediate response to the lawsuit or the allegations raised by Ateba. The legal proceedings will likely shed light on the extent to which press access can be regulated and whether the changes made to the credentialing criteria genuinely infringe upon the constitutional rights of journalists like Ateba.

Fox News