When traveling abroad for the first time, it seems every American is struck by the brilliance of creating paper money with a correlation between the size of a bill and its value. “That must be nice for blind people,” we think.
Well, the D.C. Circuit thinks the same way. In a 2-1 ruling (PDF) issued today, it affirmed a district court decision holding that the U.S. discriminates against blind people with its uniformly-sized bills.
The American Council for the Blind sued the Treasury Department six years ago. If the decision stands, vending machines everywhere will have to be redesigned!
That seems like a better defense than the one the Treasury Department used. From the Associated Press:
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.
Apparently, that huge ugly number five on the new five-dollar bill was the Treasury Department’s first stab at meeting the needs of the blind. Unfortunately, it discriminates against good aesthetic taste.
What do you think of the decision?
Court says money discriminates against blind people [Associated Press]
Amer Cncl Blind v. Paulson, Henry [PDF]