News outlet the Gateway Pundit (TGP) and one of its reporters, Jordan Conradson, filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County in November for being denied a press pass. On Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court ruled in favor of Conradson and TGP’s emergency motion for an injunction.

“HUGE WIN! The 9th circuit court of appeals has ruled on the side of our First Amendment in [TGP]’s lawsuit against [Maricopa County]’s totalitarian attempts to control the narrative,” tweeted Conradson.

As reported by The Arizona Sun Times, Maricopa County required a press pass to attend press conferences or enter the elections department’s office to conduct interviews. To receive the pass, journalists were required to sign a form acknowledging they were without a “conflict of interests.”

Even when the pass was first announced, Conradson became critical of it. He compared it to the failed federal “ministry of truth,” calling it an attempt from Maricopa County to silence conservative reporters.

In September, Conradson applied for the press pass, but Maricopa County denied the attempt. The county justified its decision by stating that Conradson and the TGP “(a) do not avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest and (b) are not free of associations that would compromise journalistic integrity or damage credibility.” Moreover, the county also stated that Conradson is “not a bona fide correspondent of repute in [his] profession.”

Conradson tried again to get a press pass after the November election but was denied again, leading to a lawsuit in early November. The plaintiffs sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) to force the county to authorize the press pass request, although the district court denied that request. The plaintiffs appealed the move and, on November 30th, filed the injunction with the ninth circuit court.

The plaintiffs argued that Maricopa County violated the first amendment rights of Conradson, stating that it is unconstitutional to suppress someone’s speech if that suppression is because “public officials oppose the speaker’s views.” TGP also argued that Maricopa County made its assertions on weak grounds. The county noted that “Conradson participates in political party events and associates with people and groups that demonstrate an inability to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest.” However, the plaintiffs argued that the events Conradson attends are “a poor measuring stick” for determining his journalistic integrity.

“The County’s own evidence only underscores that the press-pass denial, as applied to Conradson, was not viewpoint neutral; the County’s evidence indeed highlights its reliance on Conradson’s political views,” according to the injunction.

Ultimately, Clerk of the Court Molly Dwyer granted TGP’s injunction. As Conradson shared on Twitter, he is now the owner of a Maricopa County press pass.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Jordan Conradson” by Jordan Conradson. Background Photo “Courtroom” by 12019.