Judge Kelly, a Trump appointee, said that his ruling was based on CNN and Acosta's Fifth Amendment claims, arguing that the White House did not give him the due process legally necessary to revoke his press pass.
"These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations".
Sanders and Trump say that the White House is working on written standards of decorum for press conferences, but those, too, could face a legal challenge if they are too vague.
In a statement from CNN, the network said they would continue to fight.
Kelly, who was appointed by President Donald Trump a year ago, agreed with CNN that Acosta's right to due process had likely been violated in the abrupt and opaque way he was stripped of his credentials.
A multitude of press outlets, even the usually pro-Trump Fox News, supported CNN in its lawsuit.
"Put simple, the White House's illegal reaction after the November 7 press conference can not be made legal now by applying an after-the-fact concocted process", wrote CNN's lawyer, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr.
"These basic, commonsense practices are necessary for orderly press conferences that are fair to all journalists in attendance", they wrote, adding that "no other reporter" failed to live up to those standards at the November 7 press conference. In other words, the White House can't just revoke a reporter's press pass for no good reason.
Ted Boutrous, an attorney for CNN and Acosta, told Stelter on "Reliable Sources" that in the absence of reaching an agreement with the White House, they plan to seek a preliminary injunction blocking the White House from suspending Acosta's credentials for a much longer period of time as the case moves forward.
But the new letter from Shine and Sanders is an "attempt to provide retroactive due process", the lawyers said. Trump, seeking to move on after answering Acosta's initial question, called Acosta a "rude, bad person" as Acosta held on to the microphone and kept talking while a White House intern tried to take it back. "What they said though is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct et cetera, et cetera", Trump said.
CNN has responded to yet another press-pass threat from the President of the United States by asking the U.S. District court for an emergency hearing.