Washington Law Review


The United States Postal Service fulfills a vital public function by enabling people to communicate in an effective and efficient way. The United States Supreme Court has firmly established the use of the mails as a free speech right guaranteed by the First Amendment. Courts apply a three-part forum analysis when analyzing First Amendment challenges to restrictions on the use of the mail system. This analysis requires courts to define the forum to which the plaintiff seeks access, to determine if that forum is public or nonpublic, and to apply the level of scrutiny proper to the type of forum at issue. Courts have thoroughly analyzed the scope of the relevant forum in various situations where plaintiffs have sought access to government-run fora. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet defined the scope of the forum when the use of the mail system is at issue, and lower courts do not agree on the proper application of the first step of forum analysis. This Comment argues that when a plaintiff seeks greater access to the mail system, courts should analogize to other situations to hold that the relevant forum is the mail system as a whole.

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