Posts Tagged ‘paper currency and the blind’

D.C. Circuit panel: paper money unfair to blind

The Washington Post reports, and Hans Bader at CEI’s Open Market discusses the 2-1 panel decision (PDF) upholding a lower court ruling. The case hinged on whether the prospective modifications to currency, which the National Federation of the Blind have criticized as unnecessary, would impose an “undue burden” under the Rehabilitation Act. Judge Randolph, in dissent: “There are approximately 7,000,000 food and beverage vending machines in the United States; by one estimate, it would cost $3.5 billion to retool or replace these machines.” Earlier here. More: Patterico.

November 13 roundup

  • Ethical questions for Vioxx lawyers [WSJ law blog] And who’s going to make what? [same; more from Ted at PoL]
  • American lawyers shouldn’t get all self-congratulatory about the courage shown by their Pakistani counterparts [Giacalone; more]
  • Just another of those harmless questionnaires from school, this time about kindergartners’ at-home computer use. Or maybe there’s more to it [Nicole Black]
  • Probe of personal injury “runners” bribing Gotham hospital staff to chase business nets another conviction, this one of a lawyer who stole $148,000 from clients [NYLJ; earlier]
  • Facebook sometimes sends text messages to obsolete cellphone numbers relinquished by its users, so let’s sue it [IndyStar]
  • Series on defensive medicine at docblog White Coat Rants [first, second, third]
  • Arm broken by bully, student wins $4 million verdict against Tampa private school; bully himself not sued [St. Petersburg Times]
  • Washington, D.C. reportedly doing away with right to contest a traffic parking ticket in person [The Newspaper, on “the politics of driving”]
  • “Walking headline factory” Scruggs to be arraigned November 20 [Rossmiller]
  • More on whether government’s refusal to alter paper currency discriminates against the blind [Waldeck, ConcurOp via Bader; earlier]
  • Eric Turkewitz hosts a truly marathon Blawg Review #134 [NY Pers Inj Law Blog]

Update: Which is Most Discriminatory Against Blind Consumers?

Jacob Sullum points (Dec. 19) to a New York Times op-ed piece (Dec. 19) by Marc Maurer questioning the recent decision (last mentioned here by Walter Olson on Dec. 17) holding that U.S. paper currency discriminates against blind money-users.  As Sullum notes:

The piece is puzzling because Maurer is the president of the National Federation of the Blind, which is suing Target for failing to make its website easily accessible to blind people.  Maurer calls the currency case, which is supported by the American Council of the Blind, ‘frivolous litigation’ while characterizing his group’s Target lawsuit as a straightforward application of the nondiscrimination principle.

Eye of the beholder, indeed.

Update: paper money design unfair to blind

The Treasury Department is appealing U.S. District Judge James Robertson’s ruling (Nov. 29) that it’s unlawful for the nation’s paper currency not to be redesigned in ways that would make it more easily used by the visually handicapped. (“Feds Say No To Blind-Friendly Paper Money”, AP/, Dec. 12). The Gimp Parade (Dec. 16) rounds up lots of links on the controversy.

Welcome radio listeners

I was a guest Wednesday afternoon on Lars Larson’s nationwide talk show, based at Portland Oregon’s KXL, to discuss federal judge James Robertson’s ruling ordering the U.S. Treasury to redesign U.S. paper money so as not to exclude blind users from reasonable access (see yesterday’s post). And at 10 a.m. Mountain Standard Time this morning (Thursday) I’m scheduled to join Mike Rosen on his popular show based at Denver’s KOA, on the same topic.

“Judge rules paper money unfair to blind”

New frontiers in disabled rights: “A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Treasury Department is violating the law by failing to design and issue currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired people. Judge James Robertson, in a ruling on a suit by the American Council of the Blind, ordered the Treasury to devise a method to tell bills apart.” The court acted on the basis of the Rehabilitation Act, which guarantees to the disabled “meaningful access” to federal programs. (CNN Money, Nov. 28; decision in American Council of the Blind v. Paulson courtesy FindLaw; decision in PDF form at court website).

More: Here’s an interesting development: the National Federation of the Blind, the best known organization for blind Americans, has issued a press release sharply critical of the lawsuit and the ruling (“dangerously misguided”) (Yahoo/PRNewswire, Nov. 29). According to Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, “The blind need jobs and real opportunities to earn money, not feel-good gimmicks that misinform the public about our capabilities. Blind people transact business with paper money every day. … [The ruling] argues that the blind cannot handle currency or documents in the workplace and that virtually everything must be modified for the use of the blind. An employer who believes that every piece of printed material in the workplace must be specially designed so that the blind can read it will have a strong incentive not to hire a blind person.” More from the NFB press release:

Blind people traditionally identify paper currency by folding bills of different denominations in different ways. “In reality, blind people do not routinely find that we have been short-changed,” Maurer commented. Machines are readily available to identify paper money for blind people who run businesses or handle large amounts of cash. “Essentially, the United States Treasury has been ordered by the courts to come up with a solution for a nonexistent problem,” Maurer said.

Per the AP, “Government attorneys argued that forcing the Treasury Department to change the size or texture of the bills would make it harder to prevent counterfeiting,” but Judge Robertson was not swayed (“Judge Says Currency Shortchanges the Blind”, AP/Washington Post, Nov. 29). See also Dvorak Uncensored and Orin Kerr.