February 27, 2017

In response to reports that the White House office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, today barred entry at a press briefing to reporters from The New York Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times and Politico, the following statement is attributable to the New York Civil Liberties Union Legal Director Arthur Eisenburg:

“We are deeply suspicious that the White House decision today to exclude some news outlets rested upon the viewpoints expressed by those publications. If that is the case, the exclusion of those reporters today would almost certainly violate the First Amendment.”

“The Supreme Court has long held that viewpoint discrimination of the press by government is presumptively, indeed in almost every instance, unconstitutional.”

“Even if the White House decision were not found to rest upon the content or viewpoint of the publications, because the government is regulating First Amendment-protected activity, the Constitution requires that such regulation be based upon clearly defined rules and standards.”

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