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Government resists altering money for blind people

Story Highlights

• Administration says changing denominations would be too costly
• U.S. district judge ruled last week that uniform money violates law
• Government says blind people can use credit or debit cards
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration on Tuesday asked a federal court to overturn a lower-court ruling requiring the federal government redesign the nation's paper money to help blind people differentiate between denominations of bills.

Judge James Robertson of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled last month that the Treasury Department is violating the law by keeping all paper money the same size and feel, preventing blind people from distinguishing the amount.

Robertson, in a ruling on a suit by the American Council of the Blind, ordered the government to come up with a way to tell bills apart.

In its appeal, the Bush administration disagreed with Robertson's ruling that blind people were denied "meaningful access" to money by the same-sized bills because portable currency readers exist to help distinguish the bills. The government also said blind people can use credit and debit cards instead of cash.

The government also disagreed with Robertson's ruling that making changes would not impose an "undue burden." The government said that making any changes to the currency would interfere with mandates to guard against counterfeiting and would cost too much.

The American Council for the Blind has submitted several alternatives to the same-sized bills, including embossing, holes punched in the paper or using different-sized bills for different denominations.

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U.S. currency -- whether $1 bill or a $100 bill -- is all the same size, shape and weight. Advocates say this uniformity makes it hard for the visually impaired to do business.



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