First Circuit Upholds Ban on Petitioning for Candidates on Interior Post Office Sidewalks

On February 25, the First Circuit upheld a Post Office regulation that, in effect, bans petititioning to place a candidate on a ballot on interior Post Office sidewalks. Del Gallo v Parent, 08-1511. The decision is 37 pages long, and was written by Judge Sandra Lynch, a Clinton appointee, and co-signed by Judge Michael Boudin, a Clinton appointee, and Kermit Lipiz, a Bush Sr. appointee.

Technically, the decision does not deal with the Post Office ban on collecting signatures on its interior sidewalks. Instead, it upholds another regulation that bans “campaigning” on postal interior sidewalks. But the decision assumes that petitioning for a candidate is equivalent to campaigning. The decision says that the Post Office needs the regulation because otherwise the public will assume the Post Office supports the candidate who is “campaigning” on its interior sidewalks.

Another case, related directly to the postal ban on all petitioning on its interior sidewalks, called Initiative & Referendum Institute v Postal Service, is still pending in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.


Comments

First Circuit Upholds Ban on Petitioning for Candidates on Interior Post Office Sidewalks — No Comments

  1. There are many, many precedents about First Activity on government property, but there are different types of government property, and most people would probably agree that some of them aren’t suited for public communication.

    This particular decision is ridiculous, however. Obviously if the post office is letting anyone petition on its outdoor interior sidewalks, then no one would think the post office supports that candidate or party or cause.

  2. The postal service considers itself to be a public entity whenever such a status will suit its purpose — such as outfitting all of its vehicle with US government license plates. And it considers itself to be a private entity whenever such a status will suit its other purposes — such as prohibiting political activity on its sidewalks.

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