The U.S. Treasury Department discriminates …

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Melanie Brunson, Executive Director

American Council of the Blind

1155 15th Street NW, Suite 1004

Washington, DC 20005

Phone: 202-467-5081 or toll free: 800-424-8666.

The U.S. Treasury Department discriminates because it has failed to design and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable by people who are blind, a ruling by the federal appeals court, Tuesday, May 20.

Washington -- May 20, 2008 -- The U.S. Treasury Department discriminates because it has failed to design and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable by people who are blind, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

By a 2-1 vote, the court upheld a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robertson in a lawsuit filed by The American Council of the Blind (ACB) against the U.S. Treasury Department.

ACB accused the department and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson of violating the Rehabilitation Act, which was meant to ensure that people with disabilities can live independently and fully participate in society.

The appeals court rejected the Treasury Department's arguments that making currency accessible would impose an undue burden on the government, and sent the case back to Robertson to address the group's request for relief.

Mitch Pomerantz, President of the American Council of the Blind, stated: "This is a tremendous victory for the ACB and for every blind and visually impaired person living in the United States today and in the future. We hope that the Treasury Department will now sit down with us to come up with a mutually satisfactory way of making our currency accessible."

"Virtually all of the other industrialized countries around the globe have accessible currency, and this is long overdue for the United States,” commented Dr. Ron E. Milliman, who chairs ACB’s Public Relations Committee.

“there are over 180 nations that have some sort of accessibility built in to their paper currency. Currencies used by countries such as Canada, Australia, Japan, England, and even

the Euro have accessibility features. The U.S. is rather unique in that it is one of very few industrialized nations that has resisted including shape,

size, texture, or meaningful color contrast in its bank notes,” said Melanie Brunson, Executive Director of ACB.

The American Council of the Blind is the largest consumer-based organization of blind and visually impaired Americans advocating for the rights of blind Americans. Comprised of more than 70 affiliates across the entire United States, the organization is dedicated to making it possible for blind and visually impaired Americans to participate fully in every aspect of American society.

For more information about the American Council of the Blind, and the issues it supports, visit www.acb.org or contact Melanie Brunson, Executive Director, The American Council of the Blind, 1155 15th Street NW, Suite 1004, Washington, DC 20005 or phone: 202-467-5081 or toll free: 800-424-8666.

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