Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Judge Says Currency Shortchanges Blind

See this article by that title in the Washington Post. It begins:

A federal judge said yesterday that by keeping all U.S. currency the same size and texture, the government has denied blind people meaningful access to money.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson said the Treasury Department has violated the law, and he ordered the government to develop ways for the blind to tell bills apart.

"Of the more than 180 countries that issue paper currency, only the United States prints bills that are identical in size and color in all their denominations," Robertson wrote. "More than 100 of the other issuers vary their bills in size according to denomination, and every other issuer includes at least some features that help the visually impaired."

He said he wouldn't tell officials how to fix the problem, but he ordered them to begin working on it within 10 days. The American Council of the Blind has proposed several options, including printing bills of differing sizes, adding embossed dots or foil to the paper or using raised ink.

I'll link to the key documents in the case, via the fantastic Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, soon.


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