12+ States Deploy Legal Power Move To Spite Trump’s Postmaster General


The Trump administration is continuing to come under tough scrutiny for their handling of the Postal Service. Now, two separate lawsuits have been filed against the Trump-allied Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who two coalitions of state authorities allege broke the law via implementing recent policy changes without submitting the plans to the Postal Regulatory Commission, which would have apparently given states the chance to comment on the policy changes. (The Trump administration has majorly fumbled administrative procedure law in the past.) DeJoy’s recently enacted policy shifts, including the reported cancellation of overtime opportunities for huge swathes of the workforce, have slowed down mail processing and delivery times, which could obviously have negative results on the effectiveness of mail-in voting.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) led one of the new lawsuits against DeJoy, who, it’s worth noting, is a former fundraising official for the Republican National Committee. Ferguson insists that DeJoy acted “outside of his authority to implement changes to the postal system” and did “not follow the proper procedures under federal law.”

Ferguson adds:

‘For partisan gain, President Trump is attempting to destroy a critical institution that is essential for millions of Americans. We rely on the Postal Service for our Social Security benefits, prescriptions — and exercising our right to vote. Our coalition will fight to protect the Postal Service and uphold the rule of law in federal court.’

Although Trump does not directly control policy at the Postal Service, he has openly floated the possibility of holding up emergency relief money for the agency, which he noted would curtail their ability to effectively handle mail-in ballots, which he has ranted against. He subsequently claimed that he might be willing to approve the emergency financial support after all if Democrats concede to Republican demands, but Coronavirus-connected relief negotiations are currently stalled out on Capitol Hill.

The lawsuit led by Washington’s Attorney General Ferguson includes Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin, for a total of 14 states. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) filed his own lawsuit this week, with backing including the California state Attorney General. Shapiro’s lawsuit zeroes in on the same alleged violation of the law that’s singled out in the filing from Ferguson.

California state Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said:

‘Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy. hat means relying on our postal service more than ever during this pandemic. Unsurprisingly, that doesn’t stop President Trump from attacking our mail and lying about the facts no matter who gets hurt. To him, even when it comes to delivering your paycheck or medication, it’s a joke. Our right to vote, your paycheck, your prescription medicines, you can’t get more serious than that. So, for the 96th time, we’re taking President Trump to court. No Americans should fear their vote won’t count simply because Donald Trump fears a free and fair election.’

This week, DeJoy claimed that he is “suspending” certain reform “initiatives until after the election is concluded” in order to “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.” Time will tell how truthful he’s being.