Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Antitrust News: Briefs Filed in Postal Service Case

Yesterday Flamingo Industries, which sued the U.S. Postal Service for antitrust violations, filed a brief in support of its right to bring its case with the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit previously held the Postal Service is a "person" that can be sued under the Sherman Act. Solicitor General Ted Olson, representing the Postal Service, appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court. Oral arguments will be held later this year.

CAC previously filed an amicus brief in support of neither party but endorsing the Ninth Circuit's judgment. In our view, while nobody should be subject to the antitrust laws, to exempt a government-sposnored monopoly from antitrust's reach is unreasonable. Private businesses are already at a legally mandated disadvantage when competing with the Postal Service, and the agency does not deserve, as a matter of law, a special antitrust exemption. At the same time, CAC takes no position on the underlying merits of Flamingo's case, which involves a dispute over the Postal Service's contract with the firm to provide mail sacks.

Joining CAC as an amicus in this case is PostalWatch, a nonprofit group that monitors and criticizes Postal Service activities. PostalWatch filed in support of Flamingo. You can access PostalWatch's brief here.

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