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ATMs and the ADA

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The Americans with Disabilities Act requires banks to make ATMs accessible to the visually impaired, and lawyers are finding it profitable to sue the stragglers. [American Banker]

This is less a problem with the court system than with Congress creating an unfunded mandate costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Heck, if I had a visually impaired friend, I'd hire runners to figure out which ATMs are out of compliance, have her bring suit, and cash in on my private-attorney-general windfalls; come to think of it, I should probably advertise for a visually impaired friend and hire a couple of unemployed law graduates and just run the mill. Congress creates so many statutes that are effectively Lawyers Full Employment Acts that I simply don't understand why any recent law graduates are complaining about the lack of jobs.

Perhaps we as a society want to incur hundreds of millions of dollars of additional costs to ensure that the visually impaired don't feel left out because of the inconvenience of an ATM not especially designed for them. But one wishes that that was more of a conscious decision than the one being made by legislators to just create the requirement without thought to the costs and benefits.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


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The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.