The legal implications surrounding chaos at the USPS

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United States Postal Service (USPS) mailboxes are stacked in an industrial lot in Hartford, Wisconsin, U.S., August 16, 2020. Credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder.

Attorneys general in several states are looking into ways to sue the federal government and block it from reducing mail service. Earlier today, a few people in New York, including some candidates for office there, filed a federal suit in Manhattan. 

“The postal service has to be ready [for the November election]. So at this point, honestly what you’re trying to do is triage and to make sure that even if there’s bleeding, basically the patient doesn’t bleed out, that at least there’s enough funding,” says Jessica Levinson, professor at Loyola Law School.

She says education is needed too, which is something Democrats in Congress have talked about. “[It’s] telling the voters even if you don’t get your ballot in time to mail it back, let’s say, here are the rules about postmarks, so maybe you have more time than you think. Or here are places where you can drop off your ballot and still be distanced. Or here are more early in-person voting places. It’s going to be a mix of legal and practical solutions at this point.” 

Also in the news: On Friday, the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down California’s ban on high-capacity gun magazines. Their reasoning: the ban violates the Second Amendment.  

“Specifically, the court spent a lot of time, it was a 66-page decision, talking about the right to self defense. And what the court said is this criminalizes half of all magazines in the country. Basically, it sweeps too broadly,” says Levinson.

Credits

Guest:
Jessica Levinson - Professor, LMU's Loyola Law School in Los Angeles - @LevinsonJessica

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin