I’m Sorry, But This Is Stupid

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Talk about the "Blind leading the blind": Court rules paper money unfair to blind

The U.S. discriminates against blind people by printing paper money that makes it impossible for them to distinguish the bills' value, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling upholds a decision by a lower court in 2006. It could force the Treasury Department to redesign its money. Suggested changes have ranged from making bills different sizes to printing them with raised markings.

If this is "discrimination" than the word no longer has a meaning.  It has simply become a term the courts can use to usurp the power the Constitution reserves for legislatures. 

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11 Responses to I’m Sorry, But This Is Stupid

  1. That’s pretty dumb, even for this age of "everyone’s a victim."

  2. Alex says:

    Rich, I’m sorry to say you’ve got it wrong sir.  This case was based upon 29 U.S.C. 794 The Rehabilitation Act.  This was passed by Congress to protect the disabled from discrimination and provided them relief in line with the Civil Rights Act.  The Court did not even touch the Constitution.  The only Constitutional issue at question firstly is whether Congress has the proper grant of power under the Constitution to pass this law.  The answer to that is a clear yes under the Commerce Clause.  If this goes to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court somehow says that there is no discrimination in line with this law, then the Justices will likely go into a 5th Amendment Equal Protection analysis – but I don’t see that happening.  Anyhow, if you are unhappy with the result of this case, then your real problem should be with the expansive view that we provide the Commerce Clause grant of Congressional powers.  If you want to learn more just google "Wickard v. Filburn and Carter Coal" I’m sure it will clear things up.  Justice Thomas is an originalist who would say this law isn’t even valid because the Commerce Clause wasn’t intended to give this power, but he’s alone in that stance.  I’m just saying you may appreciate Thomas’ Commerce Clause jurisprudence if you care to learn more.Although I must say I agree with your sentiments.  I’d hate to see the dollar change – it’s classy.

  3. sam says:

    The next case will be suing the car makers because the controls in automobiles don’t use braille.  I watched "Scent of a Woman" last weekend, and the movie brought that to mind.

  4. Rich Horton says:

    Alex, I just dont see how this is "discrimination" in any understanding of the word.  By that standard every door in a Federal office building that doesnt have braile on it is "discriminatory".  That is simple nonsense, and I dont see how any ruling that considered the intent of the legislation could find otherwise.  The fact the court started looking at how much it would cost to print new money, what other countries do with their print currencies, etc. shows the intent of the court here was legislative not judicial.

  5. martian says:

    Shall we make the money sticky, too, so that people who have no thumbs (either by birth or accident) can hang onto it and handle it without dropping it? Should we require confirmation from a second party during any monetary action to make sure that fools and their money are not soon parted? I agree with Rich, this is just plain stupid. Further, it would be massively expensive to either size code the bills or print them with Braill – the raised markings would likely flatten out or wear away fairly rapidly with use and you’d be right back where you started. You’ have to recall all of the money (literally millionsupon millions of bills) currently in circulation. This is a case of foolishly un thought out silliness.

  6. crosspatch says:

    Does this mean that foghorns discriminate against the deaf?  The Dutch, though, have had money with raised portions so the denomination can be told by sense of touch … but just wait, it won’t take long for someone to figure that out and start cheating the blind with $1 bills having the same "dots" as a $10 or something.

  7. Rich Horton says:

    Not to  mention the sheer volume of litigation such a reading opens up.  Remember how people complained about how the Susan B Anthony dollars, although technically a different size from quarters, were too close in size to said quarters.  So are things similarly but differently sized also "discriminatory"?
    I think something in my head just popped.

  8. Sam says:

    Ahh, yes.  Carter Quarters – that brings back the memories.

  9. Alex says:

    Rich,  I appreciate your analysis.  You are correct in that there is a separate analysis regarding judicial activism.  If you read the statute, the question hinges on what is discrimination.  Although I hate to say it, money does discriminate in the Webster version of the word.  The question we can get into is legislative intent.  But if the Court does not follow the plain meaning of the word discriminate, and instead uses discriminate is a different manner, then I believe that is actually the more activist approach.  The restrained approach, in my opinion, is to let the plain meaning of the statute stand – if Congress does not like the result they can then amend the statute accordingly to reflect their wishes.  We shouldn’t expect our Judiciary to fill the holes and ambiguities created by our legislature.

  10. crosspatch says:

    Alex,Certain disabilities are by their nature discriminatory.  Are we to find that automobiles discriminate against the blind too?  What about flying airplanes?  What is next?  Finding that warning signs discriminate? What about the airline safety briefing when they say to look around and locate the nearest exit and do you put a blind person in the exit row?  The idea that missing one of the body’s primary senses should not limit one’s choices in life is simply idiotic.

  11. Neo says:

    You left out a possible suit with Smith and Wesson over handguns for the blind.  2nd amendment you know.

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