Let the Postal Service lawsuits begin. There are plenty of plaintiffs, including states. At least 20 state attorneys general are going to court over U.S. Postal Service delays and the threat to the November election, The Washington Post reports. “We’re trying to stop Trump’s attacks on the Postal Service, which we believe to be an attack on the integrity of election. It’s a straight-up attack on democracy,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat, said in an interview. “This conduct is illegal. It’s unconstitutional. It’s harmful to the country. It’s harmful to individuals.
“We’re asking a court to make him stop,” he said. The ”we” in this case comprises Frosh's fellow attorneys general from Washington State, the lead state in the case, as well as Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. This suit names Donald Trump and Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general, as defendants. It and another suit from Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, among others, will argue that DeJoy and the Postal Service broke the law by making operational changes to slow service without the approval of the Postal Regulatory Commission. They will also argue that these changes, which they are seeking to reverse, will impede the states' ability to run free and fair elections. All of the attorneys general signing on to these cases are Democrats, of course. They have all the standing they need: The Constitution gives states and Congress the power to run and regulate elections. “States have the right to conduct mail-in elections if they choose,” Frosh said. “Trump is trying to undermine that.”
“We will be taking action to reinstate Postal Service standards that all Americans depend on, whether it’s for delivering their prescription drugs or for carrying their very right to vote,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Recent post office changes have been implemented recklessly, before checking the law, and we will use our authority to stop them and help ensure that every eligible ballot is counted.” Frosh told the Post that the operational changes made by DeJoy are also a violation of the Voting Rights Act, because the removal of sorting machines disproportionately impacts cities with large communities of color. The suit also charges that DeJoy's actions violate the Americans with Disabilities Act by making it harder for people with physically disabilities and health conditions that put them at high risk to vote safely and know that their votes will count. “Because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, this is asking them to risk their lives,” he said.
The suits seek to reverse service changes at the Postal Service including elimination of staff overtime, removal of mail sorting equipment, and directives at state distribution centers that prioritize certain types of mail. The suits argue that these changes threaten the timely delivery of critical mail, including everything from prescription drugs to ballots.
New York's Attorney General Letitia James is filing yet another separate suit. “The integrity of our elections is fundamental to our nation’s democracy and we won’t allow anyone to undermine them, not even the president of the United States,” James stated when announcing the suit. “President Trump’s actions to interfere with the operations of the U.S. Postal Service in advance of the presidential election is deeply disturbing,” she said. “It is an attempt at an authoritarian power grab in an effort to hold on to power, plain and simple.”
All this is in addition to a suit filed Monday by individuals, including Mondaire Jones, a candidate for U.S. House from New York’s Congressional District; candidates for state office in New York; and voters who vote-by-mail because of health conditions. “Those individuals included a Chicago resident who recently underwent a bone marrow transplant, a digital colorist for film and television who votes in California, an 85-year old Suffolk County, New York, voter at an assisted living facility and Mary Winton Green, a 97-year old retired philanthropist and Cook County, Illinois voter who first voted in 1944,” The New York Times reported. Green's doctors told her that she cannot vote in person during the pandemic. “If she cannot vote reliably by mail, she cannot vote at all,“ the lawsuit said.
DeJoy is claiming that he will "suspend" all of these policy changes until after the election, but what is glaringly lacking in his statement is whether he'll reverse those changes and restore service to what it was before his appointment. That's what these suits would require, and they must go forward.