Postal Service petitions DC Circuit for rehearing on the rate increase in Forever stamps


Yesterday the Postal Service filed a petition to the DC Circuit Court for a rehearing in Carlson v. Postal Regulatory Commission.

The case involves the question of whether or not the Commission properly followed the relevant statutes when it approved the Postal Service’s increase on First-Class stamps from 50 to 55 cents.

Carlson has argued to the PRC and DC Circuit that the Commission has not done the kind of review required by law. In September, a three-member panel of the DC Circuit issued a ruling granting Carlson’s petition.

As the court stated in its ruling, the “Commission fell short of the [Administrative Procedure Act’s] requirement for reasoned decisionmaking because it did not adequately analyze the stamp price hike’s compliance with all of the [Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act’s] relevant statutory objectives and factors, particularly those raised in the public comments.”

The Commission’s recent order approving the 2019 price adjustments indicates that it has found a way to deal with the court’s ruling, but the Postal Service apparently believes there’s too much at stake to let the ruling stand.

In yesterday’s petition, the Postal Service argues that the panel’s ruling is based on the “mistaken premise” that the Commission “is ultimately responsible for setting and adjusting rates for the Postal Service’s market-dominant products (including the stamp price at issue here).” In fact, says the Postal Service, it is the Postal Service that establishes rates. “This mistaken premise led the panel to several critical errors in construing the statute’s ratesetting provisions.”

If the DC Circuit denies the request for a rehearing, the Postal Service could appeal to the Supreme Court itself.

For more about the case, see these previous posts:

UPDATE: On Nov. 8, 2019, the Court rejected the Postal Service’s petition for a rehearing.  The order is here.