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Paper money in the U.S. currency system discriminates against the visually impaired, because all bills are of the same size, feel, and color scheme regardless of denomination, a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia ruled on Tuesday.
The 2-1 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the U.S. Treasury Department's existing paper currency system amounts to a "denial of meaningful access" under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a federal law that protects the rights of the disabled. The court also found that the Treasury Department failed to show that other reasonable, non-discriminatory alternatives to the existing paper currency system would be too burdensome. The Washington Post reports that the Council of the Blind -- the original plaintiff in the case -- ''has suggested distinguishing bills of different amounts by changing their size, adding embossed dots or foil to the paper, or using raised ink."