NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

States launch lawsuits against Trump/DeJoy as USPS says it’s pausing “service changes”

A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of states are head­ing to court to seek injunc­tive relief to pro­tect the Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice just as ris­ing nation­al fury against the Trump regime’s efforts to destroy the USPS from with­in appears to have prompt­ed Post­mas­ter Gen­er­al and Don­ald Trump crony Louis DeJoy to pull back from the cam­paign of sab­o­tage that was already under­way.

Locked mailboxes in Burbank

Locked mail­box­es in Bur­bank (Pho­to: Rex Chap­man)

Attor­neys Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son of Wash­ing­ton and Josh Shapiro of Penn­syl­va­nia held a news con­fer­ence via tele­phone this morn­ing to announce they’re fil­ing a set of law­suits against Don­ald Trump, Louis DeJoy, and the Postal Ser­vice to pro­tect vote at home and the integri­ty of the nation’s mail sys­tem.

Thir­teen states will be join­ing Wash­ing­ton’s suit, which is being filed now.

The venue for the State of Wash­ing­ton’s action is the East­ern Dis­trict of Wash­ing­ton, Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son said.

The fil­ing is “immi­nent” and expect­ed with­in the next two hours or so. The case being brought con­cerns *all* of the recent ser­vice changes, we under­stand.

Wis­con­sin, Neva­da, Min­neso­ta, and Michi­gan are among the states join­ing the action. Two sep­a­rate law­suits being filed — Wash­ing­ton’s and Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s. How­ev­er, the two actions are being coor­di­nat­ed as part of a joint strat­e­gy.

Shapiro thinks there may be around twen­ty states in Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s action. States still have around twen­ty-four hours or so to sign on. Cal­i­for­nia, Delaware, Mass­a­chu­setts, and Maine will def­i­nite­ly be part of the Penn­syl­va­nia action.

As the AGs were unveil­ing their law­suits, the Postal Ser­vice pub­licly announced that it will be paus­ing the “ser­vice changes” (mean­ing, sab­o­tage) that Louis DeJoy and his under­lings had pre­vi­ous­ly ordered, at least for the time being.

“I came to the Postal Ser­vice to make changes to secure the suc­cess of this orga­ni­za­tion and its long-term sus­tain­abil­i­ty,” DeJoy said in a state­ment.

“I believe sig­nif­i­cant reforms are essen­tial to that objec­tive, and work toward those reforms will com­mence after the elec­tion.”

“In the mean­time, there are some long­stand­ing oper­a­tional ini­tia­tives — efforts that pre­date my arrival at the Postal Ser­vice — that have been raised as areas of con­cern as the nation pre­pares to hold an elec­tion in the midst of a dev­as­tat­ing pan­dem­ic. To avoid even the appear­ance of any impact on elec­tion mail, I am sus­pend­ing these ini­tia­tives until after the elec­tion is con­clud­ed.”

“I want to assure all Amer­i­cans of the fol­low­ing: Retail hours at Post Offices will not change. Mail pro­cess­ing equip­ment and blue col­lec­tion box­es will remain where they are. No mail pro­cess­ing facil­i­ties will be closed. And we reassert that over­time has, and will con­tin­ue to be, approved as need­ed.”

“In addi­tion, effec­tive Octo­ber 1st, we will engage stand­by resources in all areas of our oper­a­tions, includ­ing trans­porta­tion, to sat­is­fy any unfore­seen demand.”

Dismantled mail sorting machines in a parking lot

Dis­man­tled mail sort­ing machines in a park­ing lot, filmed by WOOD TV, a tele­vi­sion sta­tion in Grand Rapids, Michi­gan

“The #Savethe­P­ostOf­fice fight is mak­ing a huge impact,” tweet­ed the Amer­i­can Postal Work­ers Union in response to DeJoy’s announce­ment. “We wel­come the sus­pen­sion of USPS ser­vice cuts that delay the mail. But our fight to fix the dam­age to the Post Office is far from done and the USPS urgent­ly needs $25 bil­lion COVID aid from Con­gress to ensure top ser­vice in Novem­ber and beyond.”​

Polling shows that the Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice is a beloved insti­tu­tion that huge majori­ties of vot­ers want to pro­tect from sab­o­tage and destruc­tion.

In response to ques­tions from reporters gath­ered on their con­fer­ence call, Fer­gu­son and Shapiro said that announce­ment will have no bear­ing on their law­suits and that they will pro­ceed ahead at full speed. Nev­er­the­less, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Attor­neys Gen­er­al Asso­ci­a­tion took a vic­to­ry lap, with co-chairs Mau­ra Healey (of Mass­a­chu­setts) and Ellen Rosen­blum (of Ore­gon) declar­ing:

“We put Trump and his hand-picked Post­mas­ter Gen­er­al on notice, and it worked. It’s no coin­ci­dence that DeJoy backed down just as Demo­c­ra­t­ic AGs announced law­suits. When Dem AGs team up, the Admin­is­tra­tion pays atten­tion.”

“But we won’t believe it until we see it. With­out con­crete action by DeJoy to undo the dam­age already done and pre­vent future prob­lems, we are mov­ing for­ward to hold the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion account­able.”

“And here’s our mes­sage to the Amer­i­can peo­ple: Use your vote. Vote ear­ly; whether in per­son or by mail. How­ev­er you choose to vote, Demo­c­ra­t­ic state attor­neys gen­er­al are stand­ing up to make sure every sin­gle vote is count­ed.”

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives will be return­ing ear­ly from its planned August recess to address the dam­age being caused to the Postal Ser­vice by DeJoy’s direc­tives, Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi announced on the eve of the 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion. A vote is planned on leg­is­la­tion that would force DeJoy’s regime to stop its cam­paign of destruc­tion at the Postal Ser­vice.

DeJoy has agreed to appear before an emer­gency meet­ing of the House Com­mit­tee on Over­sight and Reform next Mon­day, August 24th. The com­mit­tee’s mem­bers include ris­ing stars Katie Porter and Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, who are sure to give DeJoy the fierce grilling that he deserves.

U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Prami­la Jaya­pal and Den­ny Heck appeared yes­ter­day with NPI’s Gael Tar­leton at a press con­fer­ence in Seat­tle to denounce the dis­man­tling of the Postal Ser­vice and call for pro­tec­tive mea­sures to be pur­sued to ensure the integri­ty of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, like adding more drop box­es and push­ing back the date when the elec­tion would nor­mal­ly be cer­ti­fied.

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