National Federation of the Blind to Testify Before House Subcommittee
NFB President Will Address Federal Court Ruling on Paper Currency
Baltimore, Maryland (July 29, 2008): Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, will testify before the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology of the House Committee on Financial Services on July 30, regarding the issue of paper currency identifiable by the blind.
On May 20, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a ruling that could force a redesign of U.S. paper currency so that blind people can distinguish denominations by touch.
Dr. Marc Maurer said: “I appreciate the opportunity to share the considered opinion of the National Federation of the Blind regarding paper currency. We represent the largest group of blind people in the United States, and each year we gather to consider important matters affecting the blind. We strongly disagree with the federal court ruling because the premise of the ruling is that the blind of America are being unlawfully made victims of discrimination because we lack “meaningful access” to paper money, which is patently untrue. Hundreds of thousands of blind people use paper money every day without difficulty. Identifying items by touch (including currency) is convenient, but not essential to the ability of blind people to participate fully in society. For a court to say that if we cannot identify it by touch, we can't use it is a fiction and a dangerous one. Millions of items that cannot be identified by touch must be managed by the blind in business, industry, and education every day; if the public comes to believe the myth that we cannot manage those items, then we will be denied the equality and opportunity we seek. If the paper money of the United States is to be changed, then the National Federation of the Blind must be consulted about what changes are to be made.”