University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Blind Persons Win Case Requiring Paper Money They Can Easily Identify
January 15, 2011
On October 3, 2008, the American Council of the Blind won a landmark disability discrimination case against the U.S. Treasury. The government may not approve any new designs for its paper money unless the bills can be easily distinguished by persons who are blind or have other vision impairments.

Judge Robertson wrote, “[t]here was a time when disabled people had no choice but to ask for help – to rely on the ‘kindness of strangers.’ It was thought to be their lot. Blind people had to ask strangers to push elevator buttons for them. People in wheelchairs needed Boy Scouts to help them over curbs and up stairs. We have evolved, however, and Congress has made our evolution official, by enacting the Rehabilitation Act, whose stated purpose is ‘to empower individuals with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society.’”

In May 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the government’s appeal and sent the case back to Judge Robertson. The case is ongoing, with six-month status reports coming in from the government.

Relevant case(s) include: