For eight years, the constitutionality of the Post Office regulation prohibiting petitioning on postal interior sidewalks has been pending in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., in a case called Initiative & Referendum Institute v US Postal Service. In the meantime, another federal lawsuit challenging the same regulation is pending in the First Circuit. The plaintiff, Reynaldo Del Gallo, is submitting his brief on July 25. He had lost in the U.S. District Court on March 28, 2008, but he was representing himself pro se. Since then, the ACLU has found an expert attorney for his appeal.
Del Gallo was arrested, even though technically he was not petitioning on a postal sidewalk. He was standing on the post office sidewalk, asking passers-by to please visit his petition circulator, standing on a “legal” sidewalk nearby. The Post Office charged him with “electioneering”. The Post Office attorneys did not tell the Massachusetts court that the constitutionality of the anti-petitioning regulation is being litigated in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, and the plaintiff didn’t know about that case.