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Yetter Coleman Secures Favorable Fifth Circuit Ruling For Client Challenging Boerne, Texas Election Change That Infringed Voting Rights

Following last year’s reversal of a federal district court's orders involving changes to Boerne, Texas city council elections that infringed the voting rights of our client, Mike Morton, a citizen of Boerne, the City and LULAC approached the district court seeking the exact same relief that the Fifth Circuit had previously vacated—single-member-district voting in the May 2012 elections.  The city still had not submitted this change for voter approval, as Texas law requires.  Although the request was in clear derogation of the Fifth Circuit decision, the district court again granted LULAC’s and the city’s requested relief and ordered single-member-district elections in May.  Yetter Coleman again appealed on behalf of Mr. Morton, and due to the impending elections, the Fifth Circuit expedited the case, requiring all briefing to be completed within two weeks and for oral argument to occur three days later.

On March 14, 2012, the Fifth Circuit reversed in Mr. Morton’s favor.  In a unanimous opinion, the Fifth Circuit held that the district court erred in approving the temporary modification without following the procedures mandated by the earlier panel.  Due to the short timeframe before the scheduled May election, the Court also moved the council elections to November 2012. Prompted by our client’s success in the litigation, the city has decided to hold a charter amendment election in May 2012 and ask the voters whether Boerne should use single-member-district voting in future elections.

Chris Ward, Rich Farrer, Ryan Bates, and Kevin Terrazas represented Mr. Morton in this matter.  For details on the Fifth Circuit decision, read here.