Judge rules paper money unfair to blind

posted at 6:04 pm on November 28, 2006 by Ian

No joke:

By keeping all U.S. currency the same size and texture, the government has denied blind people meaningful access to money, a federal judge said Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson said the Treasury Department has violated the law, and he ordered the government to come up with ways for the blind to tell bills apart.

He said he wouldn’t tell officials how to fix the problem, but he ordered them to begin working on it within 10 days. The American Council of the Blind has proposed several options, including printing bills of differing sizes, adding embossed dots or foil to the paper or using raised ink.

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This is unconstitutional! The court does not decide how the money should be. It is congress’ job.

StuLongIsland on November 28, 2006 at 6:07 PM

Ten days to begin working on it?

This calls for a committee.

Slublog on November 28, 2006 at 6:07 PM

What is this, the November to say “WTF??!!??”

Mazztek on November 28, 2006 at 6:10 PM

How about just asking the merchant what denomination he’s being handed? What could possibly go wrong?

Mark V. on November 28, 2006 at 6:11 PM

There are readers for this task, a little scanner that will tell you what the denomination is so a blind person can sort his bills before leaving the house. Giving every blind person one of these has got to be waaaaay less expensive than what this dolt is legislating. Let me guess,Clinton or Carter appointee?

bbz123 on November 28, 2006 at 6:14 PM

What is this, the November to say “WTF??!!??” Mazztek

More like the november to SCREAM “WTF?!?!?!”

Defector01 on November 28, 2006 at 6:15 PM

Money infringes on my right as a poor person to buy stuff too :(

lorien1973 on November 28, 2006 at 6:15 PM

Well, at least we have our priorities.

RightWinged on November 28, 2006 at 6:16 PM

And all the men on the dollars reinforces the fact that women are unequal to men too.

lorien1973 on November 28, 2006 at 6:17 PM

It comes at a great shock that District Judge James Robertson is a Clinton appointee, and also one of the Judges who resigned from the FISA court over NSA wiretaps.

Another activist judge who has no place anywhere near a courtroom.

Hollowpoint on November 28, 2006 at 6:17 PM

Giving the treasury dept. ten days to come up with a solution is stupid. They will come up with a solution that will increase their budget, cost us millions, and we get nothing but larger government in return. The
ADA loves this. Letting government solve problems is like…stealing money from the blind.

right2bright on November 28, 2006 at 6:18 PM

Don’t all the presidents’ faces on the bills point to the right. Obviously part of the VRWC.

Okay okay. It’s too easy. I’ll stop now :P

lorien1973 on November 28, 2006 at 6:18 PM

What if Treasury doesn’t do it? He going to put the Treasury Secretary in jail ?

StuLongIsland on November 28, 2006 at 6:20 PM

Clinton. Dec. 1994. Career civil rights litigator.

balderdash on November 28, 2006 at 6:20 PM

I wish that US bills of different denominations were different sizes, too; making them all the same size was a mistake. But it’s a done deal, unfortunately, unless this judge wants to build us a time machine.

sandberg on November 28, 2006 at 6:25 PM

Being that I am handless (as are most midwesterners, tractor accidents are very common here) I take my money out of my wallet with my mouth thus I think it is my right to have the currency be waterproof and fruit flavored.

liberrocky on November 28, 2006 at 6:27 PM

We already have currency of differing sizes. They’re called coins.

Clearly, blind people should only buy what they can afford in coin. Problem solved.

World B. Free on November 28, 2006 at 6:29 PM

Diversion Alert! What are they trying to get us to overlook?
/no offense intended to blind readers

RushBaby on November 28, 2006 at 6:29 PM

Just In!! U.S. District Judge James Robertson, just banned Paint By Numbers from Public Schools.!!

I bet that will happen someday.

StuLongIsland on November 28, 2006 at 6:29 PM

“Of the more than 180 countries that issue paper currency, only the United States prints bills that are identical in size and color in all their denominations,” Robertson wrote. “More than 100 of the other issuers vary their bills in size according to denomination, and every other issuer includes at least some features that help the visually impaired.”

Different colored bills will definitely solve the problem for the blind.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on November 28, 2006 at 6:29 PM

This is insanity. Why not sue G-d for being unfair? There are blind, deaf, crippled (differently abled), disease-ridden, too-short, too-tall, you name it. Life’s a bitch, and it’s unfair. It doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to accommodate everything you can possibly imagine, regardless of the cost! Get over it!

stonemeister on November 28, 2006 at 6:33 PM

The problem is that some paper bills are more equal than others. The solution is to make all paper bills have the same dollar value.

Doesn’t this dolt realize most places take plastic now? Doh, now I’ve done it, Treasury will now outlaw paper money and require all transactions be subject to a 3% Visa tax, to catch terrorists!

pedestrian on November 28, 2006 at 6:33 PM

/no offense intended to blind readers

RushBaby

You are a bad person

JasonG on November 28, 2006 at 6:33 PM

Finally! I’ve been waiting my entire life to implement my idea for audio cash. We implant tiny speakers in our money that “speak” the amount.

RightWinged on November 28, 2006 at 6:39 PM

m’I llits gnitiaw rof meht ot od gnihtemos rof eht cixelsyd.

.

GT on November 28, 2006 at 6:40 PM

I can see it now. “sorry” Hear it now, scented bills.

Yuk ! ! !

Texyank on November 28, 2006 at 6:42 PM

I can see it now. “sorry” Hear it now, scented bills.

Yuk ! ! !

We already have that:

$1 smells like stripper perfume.
$5 smells like a Big Mac.
$20 smells like Marion Barry’s coffee table.

Hollowpoint on November 28, 2006 at 6:48 PM

scratch and sniff bills could be a money maker…

how much would a fragrance maker pay to be the official scent of the $100 bill? Fast food could sponsor the $1 bill.

In all likelihood, there will be no auction of currency scent sponsorships. We’ll be stuck with historical scents, and “the smell of napalm in the morning” will not be one of them…

rw on November 28, 2006 at 6:55 PM

GT on November 28, 2006 at 6:40 PM

The line for that is on the right.
.
.
.
No, your other right!

Pablo on November 28, 2006 at 7:05 PM

We can’t ‘scent’ the bills because of the Americans (and undocumented Americans) that are allergic to fragrances!

I personally think the coins are unfair to weak people. Have you ever had a pocket full of change? That stuff can weigh you down.

JadeNYU on November 28, 2006 at 7:05 PM

More legislation from the bench? I thought the founding fathers believed in separation of powers, no?

thedecider on November 28, 2006 at 7:06 PM

If the Treasury Dept broke the law because of the blind where does that put the Dept of Transportation and/or Dept of Motor Vehicles i.e. and drivers licenses?

Wade on November 28, 2006 at 7:06 PM

Well at least they’re not offended by the In God We Trust logo that’s emblazoned on the back of the bills.

vcferlita on November 28, 2006 at 7:14 PM

Remember in the Ray Charles movie when Ray jumped over the desk and beat up the club owner I think for ripping him off? How did he do that? We had a little coffee shop in City Hall, owned and operated by a blind guy. We always wondered, how did he do that? I was a kid and didn’t drink coffee. I bought candy once but I paid with coins. I guess you just have to trust whos paying you or pull a Ray on them and kick their ass.

sonnyspats1 on November 28, 2006 at 7:16 PM

I think the blind jokes are uncalled for. Being blind is something you have no choice but to live with. I agree that this may be judicial activism, but the jokes are in bad taste and detract from thi point.

jman on November 28, 2006 at 7:17 PM

If they are going to redesign the bills…again…it’s a good excuse to get In God We Trust off of them while they’re at it…and perhaps put Spanish on the back?

JetBoy on November 28, 2006 at 7:18 PM

This judge needs to stop the nonsense and get back to his real job–letting murderers and pedophiles off with a slap on the wrist.

Sheesh!

jaleach on November 28, 2006 at 7:25 PM

Traffic court judge orders Amero to replace dollar?

CitizenJim on November 28, 2006 at 7:25 PM

OK, so we change all the money so the blind can know the different denominations in their money. Now they go shopping….. Hmmm, how will they know what they are shopping for? Oh, well, we better have different sized and shaped boxes for every item at the stores!!! Sheesh!

jjjen on November 28, 2006 at 7:31 PM

I was typing my sheesh before I saw your sheesh.

jjjen on November 28, 2006 at 7:32 PM

paper money? People still use paper? Check Card!

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on November 28, 2006 at 7:35 PM

Surely another judge will remind them to remove In God We Trust, as blind Muslim sheiks who feel that dastardly phrase will no doubt be deeply offended.

JammieWearingFool on November 28, 2006 at 7:38 PM

Absolutely insane. The judicial branch thinks that they own the entire government.

KSgop on November 28, 2006 at 7:43 PM

Well at least they’re not offended by the In God We Trust logo that’s emblazoned on the back of the bills.

vcferlita on November 28, 2006 at 7:14 PM

But they did remove it from the face or reverse of the new one dollar coin. It’s on the edge – the easier to wear it off.

News2Use on November 28, 2006 at 8:09 PM

He also called upon toilet paper manufacturers to devise a system that lets the blind know when they are done wiping, other than the degrading and often inaccurate “sniff the paper” method.

coondawg on November 28, 2006 at 8:22 PM

paper money? People still use paper? Check Card!

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on November 28, 2006 at 7:35 PM

Yep. I don’t carry credit cards, and I don’t maintain a bank account. All of my transactions are in cash or money order.

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet – all of our wallets, billfolds, etc. are designed for paper money of a specific size. Is this nutjob judge going to issue everyone new wallets to hold the new money?

Rusty Bill on November 28, 2006 at 8:23 PM

…once again, our black-robed “betters” have spoken. Remember the Constitution? Those were the good old days….

/no offense intended to blind readers — RushBaby

…others have spoken to this, but what I want to know is *HOW IS THIS SUPPOSED TO WORK, THEN?*

Is there a braille version of HotAir I don’t know about? Is there a voice version? Who’s doing my voice? Can we get Gilbert Gottfried to do me? He and I don’t sound the least bit alike, but I like his work.

Will we pay Gilbert Gottfried with variable sized, braille-embossed, flavored and water-resistant new dollars/Ameros/Euros/pesos? Will they accept these bills at the McDonald’s drive-through? What the hell are blind people doing at the McDonald’s drive-through? Why should we bar blind people from the McDonald’s drive-through? Isn’t that discrimination based on ability?

What will the new, “more just” money taste like, anyway? Will it taste like mustard? What if you don’t like mustard? Will you be able to order custom-flavored money?

What if you’re blind and don’t have fingers? How’s it going to work then? Has “hizzonner” figured out how blind, fingerless folks are going to pay for their food at this hypothetical McDonald’s drive-through? Will we fall back on the flavors, as suggested, or will the bills have embedded chips to make noises? What noises will they make?

At what point will we just give up and face facts? Blind is blind. They need help. It sucks to have a blind/deaf/retarded/lame/fingerless/bed-ridden relative, but they need your help. When will we stop trying to slow the able down and make ‘em pay extra freight so’s the disabled can keep up?

Social justice is so tiring.

Puritan1648 on November 28, 2006 at 8:26 PM

No problem, Canadian money has included has included Braille for years. Whats the fuss?

unclemeat on November 28, 2006 at 8:36 PM

What next?

Judge rules dog whistles unfair to deaf.

Which brings me to another mystery of life. Ever watch a movie with the subtitles on, and it reads ……. “Stairway to Heaven playing in background”? I’ve always wondered, just how is that helpful to a deaf person?

fogw on November 28, 2006 at 8:43 PM

At least we have Braille on drive-through ATMs.

Hack Ptui on November 28, 2006 at 9:07 PM

And all the men on the dollars reinforces the fact that women are unequal to men too.

lorien1973 on November 28, 2006 at 6:17 PM

It is really really sexist.

Ouabam on November 28, 2006 at 9:17 PM

Please speak up, I’m having difficulty with my braille monitor.

shooter on November 28, 2006 at 9:30 PM

I am waiting for the vending machine with four different sized slots for bills that are four different sizes.

Mallard T. Drake on November 28, 2006 at 9:35 PM

At least we have Braille on drive-through ATMs.

Too funny. When political correctness strays too far from common sense.

Mallard T. Drake on November 28, 2006 at 9:36 PM

I’m sorry, but I just don’t see this.

bloggless on November 28, 2006 at 9:56 PM

I can understand this. Many blind people are fully independent. We take for granted that we can see the difference, but there are many losers out there that take advantage of the blind. Cash cards are a great idea, but the point is, there needs to be something in place for the blind.

Pam on November 28, 2006 at 10:19 PM

Cash cards are a great idea, but the point is, there needs to be something in place for the blind.

And I’d argue that today, blind people are on a more equal footing than at other time in history. Debit cards, credit cards and keypads everywhere where people confirm their own transactions. When, at other time in history has that been possible?

lorien1973 on November 28, 2006 at 10:28 PM

So how does this get reversed? We are not really going to get stuck with this nonsense are we? The cost in redesigning everything from wallets and vending machines to ATMs and even cash registers is so enormous it boggles the mind.

bbz123 on November 28, 2006 at 10:36 PM

While they’re at it, they can remove that pesky “In God We Trust” from it, too. Because you know that’s coming next.

Iowa Voice on November 28, 2006 at 10:43 PM

He also called upon toilet paper manufacturers to devise a system that lets the blind know when they are done wiping, other than the degrading and often inaccurate “sniff the paper” method.

OMG! That’s simply F’ing brilliant! Thank goodness I wasn’t taking a swig out of my pop when I read this zinger. I’d imagine there are more than a few blind people that would get a laugh out of this one! Again, brilliant!

jaleach on November 28, 2006 at 11:18 PM

Already ink on the bills wouldnt take much to raise it along with adding braille.

infidel on November 28, 2006 at 11:29 PM

So how does this get reversed? We are not really going to get stuck with this nonsense are we? The cost in redesigning everything from wallets and vending machines to ATMs and even cash registers is so enormous it boggles the mind.

bbz123

It’s easy … we just start with HIS money! Bwahwawawawawawawa!

AZPatriot on November 28, 2006 at 11:31 PM

Life itself is inherently unfair to blind people.

If this judge was truly compassionate he would require that the government provide vision for blind people within ten days.

LegendHasIt on November 29, 2006 at 12:07 AM

No problem folks, the new and improved AMERO will have it’s denomination printed in braille so we won’t have those pesky unconstitutional DOLLARS around much longer.

Let’s all have a big VIVA AMERO moment. Through yet, I know I am.

Buzzy on November 29, 2006 at 12:32 AM

This is insanity. Why not sue G-d for being unfair? There are blind, deaf, crippled (differently abled), disease-ridden, too-short, too-tall, you name it. Life’s a bitch, and it’s unfair. It doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to accommodate everything you can possibly imagine, regardless of the cost! Get over it!

stonemeister on November 28, 2006 at 6:33 PM

Don’t give them any ideas. However, that would require them to acknowledge his existence – hmmm, genius.

Rick on November 29, 2006 at 12:56 AM

Al Gore has another weapon to use against cars. They are unconstitutional because blind people are not permitted to drive!

hadsil on November 29, 2006 at 1:19 AM

Other things unfair to the blind:

cars
tv
computers
spectator sports
eye glasses
clocks
ingredient labels
the sun
target shooting
bird watching
books
strippers

hmm…something seems silly…

JackM on November 29, 2006 at 8:15 AM

And I’d argue that today, blind people are on a more equal footing than at other time in history. Debit cards, credit cards and keypads everywhere where people confirm their own transactions. When, at other time in history has that been possible?

It really isn’t equal if we say go out and buy stuff, but can’t use cash. How do blind people confirm that a clerk doen’t overcharge them?

So how does this get reversed? We are not really going to get stuck with this nonsense are we? The cost in redesigning everything from wallets and vending machines to ATMs and even cash registers is so enormous it boggles the mind.

The cost of redesigning? The Treasury Department, source of the electronic filing ads and a $24 million campaign on the new color of money had they made the change then it would have been cheaper.

Pam on November 29, 2006 at 8:21 AM

What’s next… make them Airplane pilots too!

Maybe they can teach the blind to fly Airbus’s new A380, since it doesn’t look like they’ll be leaving the runway anytime soon.

Bob on November 29, 2006 at 9:06 AM

Even if you agree that something needs to be done, having a judge make this type of decision is nonsense. And 10 days? What does he think that he’s going to do if the actual government doesn’t comply? I think that the legislature should remove this particular topic from judicial review, which is something that our elected officials have the authority to do. Then this little pissant of a judge can piss and moan impotently, but no one would give a crap about what he thinks.

Physics Geek on November 29, 2006 at 9:44 AM

I haven’t read all the comments so, if anyone else expressed this view, sorry for the double post…
I think that incorporating some kind of raised element to our currency would only help in stopping counterfitting. You know the metal threads that were recently incorporated in the currency? What if they contained some kind of knot that would cause a bump in the surface?
It is a win/win, counterfitting becomes more difficult and, those that are visually impaired would have a way of reading the denomination…
I would not be at all surprised if the treasury dept. had something just like this on the shelf ready to go.

Babs on November 29, 2006 at 10:23 AM

Remember in the Ray Charles movie when Ray jumped over the desk and beat up the club owner I think for ripping him off?

It’s been awhile since I saw that movie, but I think Ray was wrong. I think he had gotten used to people paying him in fives or twenties (something like that) but this time the guy paid him in a higher denomination, like hundred dollar bills.

And though I think this case is stupid, especially the part about it needing to be done in ten days, I’ve always wondered how the blind handle that.

Even with credit cards, it prints out generally smooth paper with nothing to physically indicate the price.

I’m sure it isn’t easy.

Esthier on November 29, 2006 at 11:13 AM

This is stupid. Anything with writing on it other than Braille or raised letters is descrimitory to the blind.

A lawn is descrimitory to people in wheelchairs; going to change that too? Maybe just pave over everything.

GIVE ME A BREAK PLEASE!

The world continues to go to Hell in a handbasket (probably assembled in Mexico) and we need to re-write everything to accomodate 1 million blind people.

And of course it isn’t easy, or maybe even possible, to figure out which bill is in your hand or what a receipt says if you are blind. Great revelation there genius! Life’s hard Beavis, it’s called the human condition. You are supposed to alter your way of life to meet the demands of your environment, NOT the other way around.

Look, if they are going to change the system anyway then yes, they might as well go ahead and make it more accessible or easier to understand by the handicapped or disabled, depending on the system (in this case currency). But to change it just for this and nothing else is silly.

Oh and one more thing, their transactions are confirmed because their statements are sent to them in Braille, which of course they can read… or should be able to. If they find a mistake the charge can be reversed. You don’t have to check something in real-time in order find out if you were over-charged and have it corrected. Show me one blind person who cannot get appropriate service for the disabled on thier credit or debit card. A blind person shouldn’t be walking around alone with cash on them anyway!

The first person who wants to flame me for hating the disabled should not waste their time. I don’t care what you think, and care even less about your feelings. Grow up and stop wasting my money!

Cary on November 29, 2006 at 11:56 AM

This is just another useless move by the judiciary to pave the way for political correctness to rule the world. There are already tools in place to assist blind people in determining the denomination of their paper money.

What’s next? Color blind people get offended because they can’t see the new colors put in place? And how exactly is a new color supposed to help a blind person any more or less than our current setup?

Raised ink, and/or braille for the bills? Still won’t help a blind person since those can be easily faked.

The point is, you can’t please every person all the time. You HAVE to make things for the vast majority of the people, and then create workarounds for the people that can’t live with the existing model.

Legislating from the bench is bad enough. Political activism from that body is simply unacceptable. When are we as a country going to learn that lesson? Every day I curse the judge that accepted the case of that idiotic woman who spilled hot coffee in her lap and sued McDonalds for a ludicrous amount of money. It’s paved the way for frivolous lawsuits that do nothing but waste time and money for our judicial system. Of course, IMO it also paved the way for our judicial branch to think they’ve got the ultimate power in what people in this country say, do, and/or think.

Rook321 on November 29, 2006 at 12:15 PM

Can’t the people who drive them to the store look at the money for them? Don’t tell me that they are driving there themselves. I have enough worries as it is.

Margaret McC on November 29, 2006 at 3:29 PM

Even if you agree that something needs to be done, having a judge make this type of decision is nonsense. And 10 days?

Well the judge would not have had to get involved had the mint followed the law. here is what the judge said: but he ordered them to begin working on it within 10 days.
That means they have 10 days to call a meeting to discuss when they will have another strategy meeting..it is a good faith order…

Did anyone even read the link or did they just react to the 10 days. The change isn’t expected in 10 days..

Pam on November 29, 2006 at 5:14 PM