US appeals ruling that barred Postal Service changes before election

Sullivan directed the USPS to take "extraordinary measures" to ensure that millions of ballots were delivered by mail
Last Updated 28 November 2020, 19:37 IST

The US Postal Service (USPS), Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and President Donald Trump late Friday appealed a federal judge's ruling suspending service changes and requiring aggressive steps to ensure ballot deliveries ahead of the November presidential election, the Justice Department said.

The government said it was appealing US District Judge Emmet Sullivan's preliminary injunction orders issued in late September in a pair of legal challenges. Sullivan directed the USPS to take "extraordinary measures" to ensure that millions of ballots were delivered by mail and held numerous hearings on the status of ballots.

It is not immediately clear what impact the appeal would have at this late stage, given that the final deadlines for accepting ballots by mail for the Nov. 3 election had passed. Joe Biden has been declared the president-elect by Reuters and numerous other news organizations.

The White House declined to comment while the Justice Department did not comment Friday.

USPS general counsel Thomas Marshall said Saturday in a statement the agency would not comment on its appeals but said "it remains our view that none of the Election Mail lawsuits are justified by the facts or supported by the applicable law."

He said the agency "will continue to defend the integrity and credibility of our leadership and workforce and the collective allegiance of our entire organization to our non-partisan service mission."

Sullivan also ordered twice-daily sweeps at USPS facilities serving states with extended ballot receipt deadlines.

At a hearing earlier this month, Sullivan said he would demand DeJoy answer questions about why the postal service failed to complete a court-ordered sweep for undelivered ballots.

Sullivan had said that DeJoy "is either going to have to be deposed or appear before me and testify under oath about why some measures were not taken."

(Published 28 November 2020, 19:37 IST)

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