Steve G.

Court says FRNs discriminate against blind people

In Courts and Justice System, Economics, Law, Media, US Government on May 20, 2008 at 8:48 pm

From Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. discriminates against blind people by printing paper money that makes it impossible for them to distinguish among the bills’ varying values, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholds a decision by a lower court in 2006. It could force the Treasury Department to redesign its money. Suggested changes have ranged from making bills different sizes to printing them with raised markings.

The American Council for the Blind sued for such changes but the Treasury Department has been fighting the case for about six years.

“I don’t think we should have to rely on people to tell us what our money is,” said Mitch Pomerantz, the council’s president.

The U.S. acknowledges the design hinders blind people but it argued that blind people have adapted. Some relied on store clerks to help them, some used credit cards and others folded certain corners to help distinguish between bills.

The court ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient. The government might as well argue that, since handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask for help from strangers, there’s no need to make buildings wheelchair accessible, the court said.

“Even the most searching tactile examination will reveal no difference between a $100 bill and a $1 bill. The Secretary has identified no reason that requires paper currency to be uniform to the touch,” Judge Judith W. Rogers wrote for the majority.

Courts can’t decide how to design the currency, since that’s up to the Treasury Department. But the ruling forces the department to address what the court called a discriminatory problem.

You can read the rest of this article here.

  1. Strictly speaking, it would not be discrimination if money were privatized. But if the Constitution were so followed, then there would be neither federal anti-discrimination laws nor federal legal-tender laws.

    The sad thing is that a lot of conservatives are going to point to this story and complain that blind people should just suck it up! This is a frivolous law suit and activist judges are out of control!

    Never mind the Congress and the Fed who’ve given us an unconstitutional monetary monopoly.

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