Michigan joins lawsuit against U.S. Postal Service

Michigan has joined with a coalition of other states and filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the federal government over recent unlawful changes to the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) operations while preparing for the potential impacts those changes could have on the country’s November general election.

With the support of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that Michigan will join the lawsuit, which is being led by the state of Washington and includes 13 states. The State of Pennsylvania is leading a similar lawsuit.

The lawsuit Michigan joins will argue that the changes proposed and already implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in the short time he has been there are both procedurally and substantively unlawful and threaten the timely delivery of mail to individuals who rely on the USPS for everything from medical prescriptions to ballots.

Under federal law, changes to USPS operations that affect nationwide mail service must be submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission and the public must be provided an opportunity to comment.

“General DeJoy never engaged in that process here,” the lawsuit states. “As a matter of substance, these changes will have a wide range of negative consequences that violate a diverse array of federal laws, from harming individuals with disabilities in violation of the Rehabilitation Act to disenfranchising voters in violation of the Constitution.”

The coalition of state attorneys general ask the court to compel USPS to submit a proposal requesting an advisory opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission.

It also seeks an injunction prohibiting USPS from implementing operational changes until it has an appropriate advisory opinion from the commission, and asks the court to order USPS to rescind any changes it already illegally made without that opinion.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court Eastern District of Washington.

“Recent actions taken by Mr. DeJoy are unlawful and indicate an attempt to disrupt and delay U.S. Postal Service operations,” Nessel said. “For more than 200 years, the postal service has been a fundamental part of the fabric of this country. People and businesses rely on it to deliver critical medications, correspondence and goods. We filed this lawsuit on behalf of the people of this state to ensure they can continue to depend on a system that is an integral part of our daily lives, our economic well-being and our democratic process.”

Since being named the U.S. Postmaster General in May, DeJoy has implemented several changes that have resulted in or threatened to reduce efficiency and timeliness of mail delivery.

In Michigan, media reports indicate several sorting machines have been removed from post office facilities in Pontiac, Detroit and Grand Rapids. The machines can sort about 270,000 pieces of mail per hour.


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