November 30, 2006

Money You Can Feel

A federal district court in DC ruled yesterday that the Treasury Department's failure to issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired individuals violates section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The case is American Council of the Blind v. Paulson.

The judge explained that "like deaf students who can have real access to a lecture only with an interpreter or a real time transcript, blind or visually impaired people cannot make effective use of American money without help." The court stopped short of ordering a remedy, but discussed the possibility of embossing or punching holes in bills, or printing new bills of different sizes. The court is holding a separate conference to determine the appropriate remedy, but the Treasury Department will almost certainly appeal the decision.
- Alicia Ouellette, Director, AMBI Health Law & Bioethics

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