Kelly is a Trump appointee who heard arguments Wednesday from lawyers representing CNN and the Justice Department.
The news network is seeking an immediate restraining order that would force the White House to hand back Acosta’s credentials, which grant reporters as-needed access to the 18-acre complex.
Acosta has clashed repeatedly with Trump and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in briefings over the last two years. The White House revoked the pass following a combative press conference last week, a day after Republicans lost control of the House in midterm elections.
The Justice Department is defending the White House’s decision to strip CNN reporter Jim Acosta of his press pass. The department is arguing that Acosta is guilty of “inappropriate grandstanding.”
The White House took the action after a heated confrontation between Acosta and President Donald Trump during a news conference last week.
In a court hearing Wednesday, Justice Department lawyer James Burnham argued that Acosta deserved to lose his access over “his refusal to comply with the general standards of a press conference.”
CNN is seeking a restraining order that would force the White House to return Acosta’s press credentials. The network’s lawyer, Theodore Boutrous, said Acosta is being singled out for his body of work, not his alleged rudeness.