Air Courier Conference of America v. American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

PETITIONER: Air Courier Conference of America
RESPONDENT: American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
LOCATION: Residence of Daniel and Lyrissa Touby

DOCKET NO.: 89-1416
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1990-1991)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 498 US 517 (1991)
ARGUED: Nov 28, 1990
DECIDED: Feb 26, 1991

ADVOCATES:
Keith E. Secular - on behalf of the Private Respondents
L. Peter Farkas - on behalf of the Petitioner
Paul J. Larkin, Jr. - on behalf of the Federal Respondent supporting the Petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Air Courier Conference of America v. American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 28, 1990 in Air Courier Conference of America v. American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 26, 1991 in Air Courier Conference of America v. American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

William H. Rehnquist:

The other case is No. 89-1416, Air Courier Conference of America versus American Postal Workers' Union.

For more than a century, Congress has granted the United States Postal Service a monopoly on the carriage of letters.

These laws are collectively known as the Private Express Statutes or PES.

These statutes allow the Postal Service to suspend their provisions as to any mail route when a public interest so requires.

In this case, the Postal Service asks acting pursuant to this authority issued a regulation authorizing a practice called international remailing.

That practice allows the bypassing of the regular postal service and the use of private carriers to deposit directly with foreign postal services letters from the United States destined for foreign addressees.

The respondent unions, representing employees of a Postal Service, sued in the District Court claiming that the record before the Postal Service was inadequate to support a finding that the regulation was in the public interest.

The District Court ruled against them, but the Court of Appeals held that the Unions had standing to assert this claim and that the suspension was not justified by the public interest.

We hold and in an opinion filed today that the Unions do not have standing to challenge the Postal Service's suspension of the PES in order to permit international remailing.

When Congress enacted the Private Express Statutes back in 1847, it was not concerned with protecting postal employment or furthering postal job opportunities.1

Thus, the fact that postal workers might lose jobs as a result of the approval of international remailing is not sufficient to allow them to challenge the regulation here in question.

We, therefore, reverse the Court of Appeals without reaching the merits.

Justice Stevens has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in which Justices Marshall and Blackmun have joined.