Second-class mail rates are available only to publications that distribute one- half or more of all circulated copies either to paying subscribers or to persons who have requested that the publication be sent to them. A publication that distributes more than half of its copies free of charge to persons who have not specifically requested copies must pay the higher third-class rate. As a result, the lower rate is denied to many community newspapers and to publications designed to win converts to a political cause or religious faith. This article argues that the Postal Service's unequal treatment of publications without subscribers infringes those publications' first amendment rights. Part I argues that the publications have the right under the first amendment to use the postal system. That right is infringed by the imposition of higher postage rates for certain categories of mail. Part II argues that strict scrutiny should be applied to the regulations because they discriminate on the basis of content. Applying strict scrutiny to the discriminatory rates, Part II concludes that they violate the first amendment.
The First Amendment and the Postal Service Subscriber Requirement: Constitutional Problems With Denying Equal Access to the Postal System,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol21/iss3/5