There are three different lawsuits filed by groups of Democratic states' attorneys general to prevent the Trump administration and U.S. Postal Service from sabotaging the institution, and in at least one of them, the court is moving fast. In the case led by Washington state and joined by 13 others, Chief Judge Stanley Bastian of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington ordered the Trump administration and the USPS to provide documentation about the mail slowdowns within 10 days.
At a hearing on Thursday, Bastian told the states and administration to act quickly, and warned the USPS not to try to drag out the process. "We don't have much time between now and this election," Bastian said. "I think everyone on this call wants their vote to be counted." He said what everyone in the country is thinking: "Everybody in this country is relying on the Postal Service to do their job," Bastian added. "I hope at some point we'll be hearing from the Postal Service not a bunch of procedural or jurisdictional arguments, but some assurance to the American public that the Postal Service is up to the challenge to deliver ballots to the voters and back to the states so they can be counted."
The states (Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin) argue that the changes, such as removing mail sorting machines, limiting overtime, and shutting down mail distribution centers, will interfere with the conduct of November's election. They assert that the changes DeJoy has termed "transformative" are "both procedurally and substantively unlawful." Bastian granted their request to speed up discovery in the case. Trump's Justice Department of course opposed that request.
It argued that most of the information the states are requesting is already available publicly, including in Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's testimony in two hearings, testimony in which he's already been caught in at least one lie. The Justice Department also said that providing the information within 10 days would be burdensome, which undercuts its argument that all that information is already available.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson argued that the USPS still hasn't answered to the problem of mail delays, and it's not at all clear what actions DeJoy has halted or reversed. The states want, among other documents, "a list of all mail sorting machines identified for decommissioning, including their locations, and whether they will be reinstalled if they have already been decommissioned." Ferguson added that the problem goes far beyond November's balloting, but is about the timely delivery of prescription drugs and Social Security benefits and rent payments and everything else the public depends upon.