Feds Fight Accessible Currency Ruling
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 13, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC--The head of the American Council of the Blind said Tuesday that his organization is not at all surprised that the Bush administration is fighting a federal court ruling that ordered the government to find a way to make paper currency accessible to millions of blind Americans.
The statement by ACB President Christopher Gray came in response to news that the U.S. Department of Justice, representing Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, had filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, asking the court throw out a November 28 decision by District Judge James Robertson. In that decision, Robertson said the Treasury Department has discriminated against blind Americans in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which guarantees equal access in government programs. Robertson explained that of 180 countries that issue paper currency, the United States is the only one that prints all bills the same size, color, and texture -- regardless of the denomination.
ACB had proposed several options, including printing bills of different sizes, adding embossed dots or foil to the paper, or using raised ink.
But in their appeal, administration attorneys argued that making bills accessible would be too expensive, and would cause undue hardship to the vending machine industry.
"Treasury complains about the costs of making currency accessible," Gray said, "but they are not at all concerned about the cost of litigation."
"We are committed to this fight even to the Supreme Court, if necessary, because it is the right thing to do, and because it is the law of the United States," he added.
"It seems to us that the argument of those groups opposing our position is poorly founded since no specific method of making the currency accessible has been put forward," Gray said. "Estimates of potential costs to vending machine operators and to cash register changes are simply unfounded at this time."
"American Council of the Blind Vows to Continue the Battle for Accessible Paper Currency in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals" (ACB)
"Opinion: We can re-redesign money" (Muskogee Phoenix)
November 29, 2006: Judge Orders Treasury To Make Paper Money Accessible To Blind Americans