As most members of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) know, our organization has been working on a lawsuit against the Department of the Treasury for 18 years now seeking a requirement that the federal government make paper currency accessible for blind and visually impaired people. Most recently, the government successfully argued that it could not fulfill a 2026 requirement to make a fraction of paper denominations accessible. The attorney representing ACB, Jeffrey Lovitky, in an appeal argued against that decision in front of an appellate court on Friday, September 18, 2020. The opposing counsel on behalf of the Treasury continued to argue that it is too difficult, if not impossible, for the Treasury to produce “raised tactile features” on paper currency, the accommodation required by the 2008 ruling in favor of ACB. Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the law which was used to argue the government must make paper currency accessible, a party may argue that they cannot provide an accommodation if it is an undue burden. In this circumstance, legal counsel on behalf of the Treasury continues to argue that providing raised tactile features by 2026 is an undue burden. One of these burdens that they continue to insinuate is that an undue burden of security exists. The government continues to insist that they cannot decouple security improvements with accessibility improvements, and thus, more time and resources are needed to make paper currency accessible. This argument was made again before the appeals court; ACB will wait to see the appellate court’s decision on the matter. To listen to the hearing, visit: https://youtu.be/si53DEOrffk?t=3406.
- ACB Currency Case Update