Does the U.S. Postal Service have immunity from all state laws?

On NPR's All Things Considered yesterday (11/28), Nina Totenburg reported on a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. A lawyer before the court, answering a question from Justice Ginsberg, stated that the USPS is immune from all state laws. I'd never heard this before, and it seems rather fantastic. Is this so, and how far does this go? Can someone driving a mail delivery vehicle not be stopped for speeding if they are violating a state statute? Can someone with knowledge of this help explain?

1 Answer

  • Jamir
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    To break it down simply, the federal government cannot be held subject to state laws. As a branch of the federal government, the postal service itself is not subject to state law. For example, Nevada cannot make a law that says that residents of the state will be charged an extra 5 cents state tax to send mail or regulate how mail is delivered. However, any government employee can be held liable for state law -- ie, the post driver could be cited for speeding.

    Those are the easy cases, but there are large gray areas that I am not familiar enough with this area of law to be able to say for certain how the courts have ruled -- like state employment laws, local zoning ordinances, etc.

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