On July 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, upheld the Postal Service regulation that bans obtaining signatures on interior postal sidewalks. The case is Initiative & Referendum Institute v U.S. Postal Service, 10-5337. The regulation was created in 2000 and this case had been filed in 2000. Here is the decision.
The opinion is written by Judge Thomas B. Griffith, a Bush Jr. appointee. It upholds the regulation partly because, in 2010, the Postal Service amended the regulation and said that individuals are free to stand on interior postal sidewalks and ask passers-by to sign a petition. But, the act of signing is not permitted on the sidewalk. Instead, the passer-by must be told that if he or she wishes to sign the petition, he or she must go to an adjoining area where the signature can be affixed to the petition. In effect, this virtually requires that petitioners work in teams, one to stand on the interior post office sidewalk and solicit the signature, and another to be stationed nearby, but off the post office sidewalk. Obviously this is very inefficient.
Judge Janice Rogers Brown, another Bush Jr. appointee, signed the Griffith opinion, and yet wrote separately to say the policy makes no sense. She concludes her separate opinion to say, “The Postal Service may conclude, on further reflection, that the present compromise causes more confusion and disruption than it abates. In that case, the Service may decide to do what is sensible and permit the entire signature-gathering encounter — for that would surely not be unreasonable.” The third judge in this case, Karen Henderson, a Bush Sr. appointee, merely signed the Griffith opinion and did not write separately.