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Postal Service licked in court fight over stamp price hike

NEW YORK - MAY 12: People use mail services at the U.S. Post Office in the James Farley Building May 12, 2008 in New York City. In what is anticipated to be annual price adjustments by the Postal Service, the cost of mailing a letter went up to 42 cents today. Despite the rise in postage, which can only be adjusted each May, Forever stamps that sold for 41 cents can be used after today's rate increase without any additional postage. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday threw out a 5-cent hike to the price of a first class “Forever Stamp” along with other adjustments made in January to the price of first-class mail.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that a postal commission failed to provide an adequate explanation for the increase from 50 to 55 cents and failed to respond to public comments challenging the increase.

A U.S. Postal Service spokesman said the service is reviewing the decision and considering its legal options. Spokesman David Partenheimer confirmed in an email that at this time customers will still be charged the new January rates for first-class mail, including 55 cents for a Forever Stamp.

The lawsuit was filed by Douglas Carlson, a postal customer and watchdog who made one of 34 comments to the commission when the rate hike was proposed. The judges ruling on the case were Neomi Rao and Gregory Katsas, appointees of President Donald Trump, and Patricia Millett, an appointee of President Barack Obama.

“Although the five-cent stamp price hike may have gone unnoticed by many, the American Revolution was fomented in part by ordinary people who objected to taxation through stamps,” Rao wrote for the group.

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