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U.S. Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies on Capitol Hill in August. Photo: Tom Brenner-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Sunday ruled in favor of several states and ordered the U.S. Postal Service to halt operational changes before November's presidential election.

Why it matters: U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan's preliminary injunction in the case filed by the states of New York, Hawaii and New Jersey, along with the cities of New York and San Francisco, is the third ruling against the USPS and the Trump administration on the matter that's been blamed for nationwide mail delivery delays.

Driving the news: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in August he would halt planned USPS changes until after the election to "avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail," following widespread delivery delays and backlogs, but some changes "remained in place" after his pledge, per AP.

What they're saying: "It is clearly in the public interest to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, to ensure safe alternatives to in-person voting, and to require that the USPS comply with the law," wrote Sullivan, who is overseeing several related suits, in an opinion obtained by the Washington Post.

  • USPS spokesperson Dave Partenheimer said after the first judge's ruling, "While we are exploring our legal options, there should be no doubt that the Postal Service is ready and committed to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives."
  • Lee Moak, a Democratic appointee to the USPS board of governors and election mail committee chair, added: "Any suggestion that there is a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service is completely and utterly without merit."

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal posted two pages of the order to Twitter:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Special report on virus-era voting: Prepare for unprecedented threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With rare, if not unprecedented, agreement, President Trump, Joe Biden, intelligence officials and Big Tech CEOs are all warning of threats to accurate and trusted vote counts before, on and after election day. 

American elections face a triple threat in 2020: 

  • Foreign governmentsespecially Russia, China and Iran — are actively spreading misinformation via social platforms.

Surprising pandemic side effect: Soaring trade deficits

Source: Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation and jobs may get all the economic headlines, but meanwhile a big shift is taking place in the underpinnings of the world economy: The U.S. trade deficit is soaring.

What's happening: Americans' spending on imported physical goods has gone through the roof, while exports are growing slowly, making the U.S. the world's consumer of last resort.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Third Way: "Big Lie" could become "Big Coup"

Graphic: Third Way

Third Way, the center-left think tank, is urging fellow Democrats to respond to the Capitol riot with "the size, scope, and seriousness of a presidential campaign," co-founder Matt Bennett tells me.

Driving the news: "For the first time in U.S. history, a party must mount two parallel presidential campaigns: one to win the election, and the other to prevent its theft," Bennett said, calling this "a Paul Revere moment."