This lawsuit challenges some of the controversial and well-publicized changes to the operation of the Postal Service implemented by U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. In July 2020, the Postal Service instituted a set of policies that have collectively been referred to as the “Leave Mail Behind” policy. Among other things, the policy directs letter carriers – contrary to the training that they have traditionally received – to leave for their routes on time and to make just one trip, even if it means leaving mail behind.
A group of 14 states, led by Washington, went to federal court to challenge the policy, which they contend was introduced for political, rather than business, reasons. They argued that the policy, along with a decision by USPS to no longer treat election mail as first-class mail, has caused delays in delivery and postmarking that could disenfranchise voters. Before making these kinds of changes, they alleged, USPS should have asked the Postal Regulatory Commission, which is an independent agency that has the power to review the USPS’ policies and performance, to weigh in.
On September 20, U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian issued an order that temporarily blocks USPS from implementing the changes outlined in the July 2020 policy and requires USPS to treat election mail as first-class mail. Bastian explained that even if it is “not necessarily apparent on the surface, at the heart of DeJoy’s and the Postal Service’s actions is voter disenfranchisement.” To support this conclusion, Bastian pointed to the president’s “highly partisan words and tweets, the actual impact of the changes on primary elections that resulted in uncounted ballots, and recent attempts and lawsuits by the Republican National Committee and President Trump’s campaign to stop the States’ efforts to bypass the Postal Service by utilizing ballot drop boxes, as well as the timing of the changes.” And his order must apply nationwide, Bastian reasoned, because it is “easy to envision situations where the mail needs to cross state lines, for example, residents who are residing out of state and want to send in an absentee ballot.”
|Date||Proceedings and Orders|
|August 18, 2020||Initial complaint for injunctive relief filed by Washington and 13 other states in district court|
|September 15, 2020||Opposition to motion for preliminary injunction filed by Department of Justice|
|September 17, 2020||Nationwide injunction issued by district court|
|September 23, 2020||Motion to clarify preliminary injunction filed by Department of Justice|
|October 2, 2020||District court order granting in part motion to clarify preliminary injunction|
#SCOTUS announces that it will hold a formal, although "purely ceremonial," investiture ceremony for Justice Amy Coney Barrett next Friday. Attendance at the ceremony is by invitation only, & press coverage will be pooled. Full announcement is here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/press/pressreleases/pr_09-24-21
Need a refresher on "cert before judgment" practice at SCOTUS? We've got you covered.
@steve_vladeck examined the practice (among other types of extraordinary relief) in 2018: https://www.scotusblog.com/2018/12/power-versus-discretion-extraordinary-relief-and-the-supreme-court/
And Kevin Russell wrote a detailed explainer in 2011:
Abortion providers in Texas return to Supreme Court, now asking the justices for immediate review on the merits of their challenge to the state’s six-week abortion ban (cert. before judgment)
The Supreme Court will have a new oral argument procedure when they return to the bench Oct. 4. There will be an opportunity for individual questioning by each justice in order of seniority.
Interesting new procedure for oral arguments when the justices return to in-person arguments next month. Does it increase the chances that we will continue to hear from Justice Thomas, who was an active participant using the taking-turns format? https://twitter.com/GregStohr/status/1440318536723812363
NEW: The Supreme Court just released its December argument calendar. Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the term's big abortion case, will be argued Dec. 1.
#SCOTUS will hear oral argument in Mississippi abortion case challenging Roe v. Wade on Dec. 1. Full December argument calendar is here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_calendars/MonthlyArgumentCalDecember2021.pdf
We noted yesterday that Justice Thomas was speaking at Notre Dame but that there was no livestream. A video of his speech is now posted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kb4bFYdujA
Thomas criticized the media and defended the court's independence. Seems to be a theme among the justices lately.
💥 Breyer continues book tour (including @colbertlateshow two nights ago).
💥 Barrett gave a speech Sunday @uofl.
💥 Thomas is slated to give the 2021 Tocqueville Lecture today @NotreDame (but, like Barrett's speech, there is apparently no livestream).
Incidentally, Gorsuch had been scheduled to give a speech at the University of Wyoming today, but his visit was canceled due to COVID.
Nothing from Kagan or Gorsuch though 😢 https://twitter.com/SCOTUSblog/status/1438530948207874050