Monday, May 26, 2008

A Sensible Ruling and a Victory for the Truly Disabled...

While I generally revile the litigiousness of our current society, occasionally the courts do seem to take some time out to do the right thing.

Last week a federal Appeals Court ruled in favor of a suit brought by The American Council of the Blind that charges, in effect, that since all paper money feels pretty much the same, the government is denying blind people meaningful access to the currency.

With so many disabled Americans working despite their disabilities (a very positive thing) it only stands to reason that the courts protect the interests of such people from the predators among us, people who’d cheat a blind person in a currency exchange (apparently a fair number of such people exist).

Some use electronic currency readers (pictured above), butut they can be expensive, and often have problems with the new $20 bills.

"It's slow," said Sam McClain, who manages a snack shop in a legislative office building near the Georgia Capitol. He has a currency reader but usually relies on the honesty of his customers. "Sometimes I have 10 or 15 people in here, and I can't use it."

The court ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were not sufficient under the Rehabilitation Act. The court stated that the government might as well argue that there's no need to make buildings accessible to wheelchairs because handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask passers-by for help.

A fair ruling, in my opinion, and one that’ll protect the blind from those who’d seek to take advantage of them.

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