Maryland and Virginia are among a group of 14 states that have filed a suit against the U.S. Postal Service to reverse recent changes instituted under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said the suit was filed in federal court and seeks to overturn the changes Frosh said amounted to “a blow to the core of democracy.” Other states taking action include Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state. Frosh said he expected other suits could follow.
The Trump administration and DeJoy have been criticized for instituting changes, including cutting overtime, removing equipment and ordering changes in delivery methods, as the U.S. deals with the coronavirus pandemic and gets set to handle an expected record number of mail-in ballots.
On Tuesday, DeJoy announced that his actions to cut overtime and remove equipment from post offices would be suspended, but Frosh’s office said that won’t affect the lawsuit.
The suit argues that the U.S. Postal Service “acted outside its authority” to implement the changes called for by DeJoy. The argument is that any changes to the mail service have to be submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission, and that didn’t happen.
Frosh was asked why, if Congressional leaders have announced legislation and oversight hearings on the issue of the operations of the postal service, a lawsuit was being filed.
Frosh said there were two reasons the legal action was taken. First, “Because the courts have the power to stop this now.” Second, he doubted that opposition to DeJoy’s actions would succeed in the Senate.
“I don’t think we can count on Congress — I mean, God bless them, I hope they take action,” but Frosh said the attorneys general believe their court challenge can succeed.
Frosh said six letter-sorting machines have been taken out of Maryland postal facilities. The machines, said Frosh, “process tens of thousands of letters an hour.” Four were taken out of Baltimore City postal facilities, and two others were removed from Linthicum in Anne Arundel County, Frosh said.
He likened the action to “shooting into a crowd.” Frosh explained, “There are Americans who are waiting for their medicines and their Social Security checks.” DeJoy’s move, Frosh said, “It’s harmful; it’s illegal and it’s unconstitutional.”
Asked about the argument that the Postal Service loses money and that DeJoy’s actions were designed to offset losses and create efficiencies, Frosh said, “I think the folks who are saying that are carrying 100 pounds of manure in a 50 pound bag. That just ain’t so,” Frosh said.
“The Postal Service is in the Constitution. Its primary objective is to deliver the mail quickly to Americans all across the country.”