The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled 2-1 that paper money discriminates against the blind, the AP reported this morning.
The ruling upholds a district court ruling from November 2006. That case, American Council of the Blind v. Paulson, was criticized by various journalists and even by the National Federation of the Blind, who said that the ruling will only reinforce blind stereotypes:
[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.
The ruling could force the U.S. to redesign its paper money so that denominations can be distinguished by touch. This could include different sized bills or raised markings on the surface of the bills, the AP said. The appeals court ruling made no mention of how the decision would affect businesses and the economy or U.S. counterfeiting prevention.