© 2020
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

States May Sue Trump Administration Over Mail Cutbacks, Funding Lapses

NOEL KING, HOST:

All right. Attorneys general in at least six states are now working together to potentially sue the Trump administration over all of what's going on at the Postal Service. Pennsylvania's attorney general, Josh Shapiro, is one of them.

Good morning, sir.

JOSH SHAPIRO: Good morning, Noel.

KING: So right now, as I said, this is just a potential lawsuit. Why haven't you made a decision yet on whether to sue?

SHAPIRO: Well, look. First, I think you got to take a step back and look at the real concern that the American people and certainly Pennsylvanians feel right now. The first one is immediate, right? We've got veterans and seniors in Pennsylvania, all across this country who aren't getting prescriptions in the mail the way they used to. And the second is essential. It's what you've been talking about here this morning - that the administration's actually trying to sow doubt in the election, even undermine the right of Pennsylvanians to vote. And we're already in court trying to stop them.

Think about this for a second. The president of the United States - his campaign has gone to court in Pennsylvania arguing that eligible voters shouldn't be allowed to drop off their ballots early at a secure site. And last week here in Pennsylvania, the administration actually told our state election officials - and actually many others around the country - that they can't guarantee the same level of service we've depended upon for years for election mail. So we're fixing both of those things. We're in court fighting back to ensure that everyone's vote here in Pennsylvania will be secure, protected and counted. And we're simply not going to allow the Postal Service, the president or his campaign to try and sow doubt in the minds of Pennsylvanians or Americans when it comes to securely voting by mail.

KING: Can I ask you briefly, what would you be claiming - if you went ahead with this lawsuit, which part of that would you be claiming is illegal?

SHAPIRO: Well, look. I'm not going to get into the specifics of what legal action we may or may not take and what our legal theories will be. But let's examine the record here. This administration has a long history of acting recklessly, of acting outside the law. We've seen that with DACA. We've seen that with the travel ban. We've seen that with a whole host of environmental actions they've taken. And every time they do that, I go to court, my colleagues go to court, and we win because no one is above the law in this country.

And so if the president directly and his enablers at the U.S. Postal Service directly try and undermine the laws of this country to make it harder for people to vote, you can rest assured we will be there. We will stand up, as we're already doing in Pennsylvania, to assure that every single person who's eligible's vote is counted and protected and secure.

KING: You know, some of the cost-cutting measures were recommended by the U.S. Postal Service's own watchdog before Louis DeJoy even came in. You know, this is an agency that is losing money unfortunately. Is that a problem for a lawsuit - the fact that, you know, cost-cutting measures have been recommended for a long time now?

SHAPIRO: Yeah, not at all. Look. Let's examine the Postal Service for a second here. The Postal Service is a public service. It was visioned by Ben Franklin as a way to tie us all together. It was central to the founding of this country and still essential today. You know, for those 80% of veterans who get their prescriptions from the VA, they get it through the mail. And it's essential for voters who want to make sure that their voice counts in our democracy. During a pandemic, they want to make sure that they can vote safely and securely from their homes. And they want to make sure their vote's going to count. And I will tell you as the attorney general of Pennsylvania, I'm already in court, and I won't hesitate to go back to ensure that that right is protected.

KING: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Thank you for your time.

SHAPIRO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Hey, thanks for reading.
WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.