Judicial Watch Seeks Preliminary Injunction against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Racist Interview Policy

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Judicial Watch announced it filed a motion for preliminary injunction to immediately prevent Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot from denying Daily Caller News Foundation reporter Thomas Catenacci’s interview request on the basis of race.

The lawsuit was initially filed on May 27, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division (Catenacci et al v. Lightfoot (No. 1:21-cv-02852)).

Judicial Watch details in the motion that:

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is only granting interviews to “journalists of color” to mark the two-year anniversary of her inauguration. Plaintiff Thomas Catenacci, a White journalist for the Daily Caller News Foundation, requested an interview of Mayor Lightfoot on her two-year anniversary. To date, almost two weeks after Plaintiffs’ request and despite two follow-up emails, Mayor Lightfoot has not agreed to an interview with Catenacci, apparently due to the mayor’s “journalists of color” only interview policy. The mayor’s refusal to be interviewed by Catenacci violates Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights and Catenacci’s right to equal protection. Plaintiffs move for a preliminary injunction to prevent further, irreparable harm. 

On May 18, 2021, Mayor Lightfoot’s office informed multiple reporters that she would grant one-on-one interviews, “only to Black or Brown journalists.” The next day, the mayor released a letter doubling down on her discriminatory policy. Since that time, the Mayor has granted at least one interview request from a self-identified Latino reporter and none to white reporters.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after Catenacci, a white male, emailed Mayor Lightfoot’s office requesting a one-on-one interview with the Mayor. The office never replied to the request or to two additional follow up emails from Catenacci.

The lawsuit alleges Mayor Lightfoot purposefully discriminated against Catenacci, “because of his race by stating that she would only grant interview requests from ‘journalists of color’….” 

“There is no excuse for racial discrimination.  Every day that goes by without the Mayor granting my interview request because of my race violates my rights and tramples on the First Amendment,” said Thomas Catenacci.

Neil Patel, Daily Caller News Foundation president said: “It’s bonkers that we had to file this lawsuit. Chicago’s mayor should not be discriminating against journalists based on their color. That’s something that every normal American understands.”

“Immediate court action is necessary to stop Mayor Lightfloot’s racist policy,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Mayor Lightfoot is not above the law.”

Christine Svenson of Svenson Law Offices in Chicago, Illinois, is assisting Judicial Watch with the lawsuit.

Author: Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation’s public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach. Visit Judicial Watch at https://www.judicialwatch.org/