by Melanie Brunson

When the U.S. Court of Appeals handed down its decision in ACB's suit against the Treasury Department last May, the court sent the issue of remedy back to District Court Judge James Robertson for further consideration. The government did not appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals. On Oct. 3, 2008, Judge Robertson issued his order concerning what remedy to impose on the government in light of the findings by both courts that the Department of the Treasury is in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Since his order was fairly brief, and I thought that readers of "The Braille Forum" might be interested in reading it for themselves, I have decided to include the text of the order here, in its entirety. It reads as follows. ORDER AND JUDGMENT

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit having affirmed this Court's Memorandum Order (Amended) of December 1, 2006 [72]:

1. IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the defendant has violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide meaningful access to United States currency for blind and other visually impaired persons.

2. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND DECREED that defendant take such steps as may be required to provide meaningful access to United States currency for blind and other visually impaired persons, which steps shall be completed, in connection with each denomination of currency, not later than the date when a redesign of that denomination is next approved by the Secretary of the Treasury after the entry of this order and judgment.

3. This Order and Judgment does not apply to the one-dollar ($1) note, and does not require the defendant to make any changes to the one-dollar ($1) note. This Order and Judgment does not apply to changing the series year or the signatures of the Secretary of the Treasury or the Treasurer of the United States on each note, nor to changing the machine-readable features on the notes that are not visible to the naked eye. Notwithstanding paragraph 2 above, given that the defendant is currently engaged in implementing a redesign of the $100 note ("the NextGen $100"), the defendant need not comply with paragraph 2 above in connection with the NextGen $100 note until the date when another redesign of such denomination is next approved by the Secretary of the Treasury after the redesign that is currently in progress.

4. The defendant shall file periodic status reports describing the steps taken to implement this Order and Judgment. The first such status report shall be filed no later than March 16, 2009, and each succeeding report shall be filed every six months thereafter, until the defendant has fully complied with this Order and Judgment.

5. The parties are directed to confer and attempt to reach agreement regarding plaintiffs' claim for attorney's fees and costs. If no agreement is reached, plaintiffs shall submit their application for attorney's fees and costs within 60 days of the date of this Order and Judgment.

United States District Judge

In a statement issued by ACB following the release of this decision, president Mitch Pomerantz said, "This has been a long time in coming, but it is certainly worth the wait. The decision has monumental ramifications for people all across this country who are blind or visually impaired."

This is indeed a tremendous victory for ACB and for the blind community of our country. It is difficult to anticipate just when we will begin to see the tangible results of the court's decision, but we are confident that they will come. It is incredibly gratifying to know that when they do, we, the members of ACB, will have had a hand in bringing them about. We will keep you posted as further information about the development of accessible currency becomes available for us to share with you. In the meantime, I will simply extend to you my congratulations. You have helped to make history! Your commitment to this cause has been vindicated. A momentous milestone in the advocacy agenda of people who are blind has been crossed, and you, the members of ACB, made it happen through your expressions of support for and belief in this case. The work is far from complete, but one thing is clear: we have a tremendous reason to celebrate! Enjoy it!

Previous Article

Next Article

Return to Table of Contents

Return to the Braille Forum Index