Judge Reverses Ban on Cowboy Boots in the Courtroom

Texans who love their cowboy boots will be allowed to wear the western footwear in court after a judge concerned about decorum lifted his decade-old ban on the boots.

Municipal Judge Kevin Madison in Lakeway, following an Austin American-Statesman story on Saturday, said he revised the ban.

"Since there has never been a problem with boots (or spurs) in my courtroom, I have reversed the cowboy boot ban, effective Saturday, September 18," the judge wrote. "Attorneys, witnesses, and court litigants in the great state of Texas can now breathe a sigh of relief."

Lawyer George Lobb, who said he often wears dress cowboy boots to work, described the ban as "absurd" and said he was considering challenging it.

"This is Texas," said Lobb. "I was born wearing boots, and I am going to die wearing boots."

Senior State District Judge Jon Wisser in Austin, who became a judge in 1975, says he always wears cowboy boots to court.

"Talk about un-Texan," said Wisser. "I have worn boots to the courtroom every day since I became a judge."

Dozens of other people submitted online comments to the newspaper to criticize the ban.

"Oh my goodness, you would have thought I was renaming the state ... New Jersey or something," Madison said Sunday in an interview. "You should have seen the stuff: 'Tar and feather him. Run him out on the rails.' "

Madison recently formalized the dress code in his court to "maintain decorum," he said, banning all court participants from wearing shorts, low-cut blouses, sleeveless shirts or clothing that is dirty, too tight or too baggy. Male lawyers must wear a coat and tie, and female lawyers must wear either dress slacks or a "skirt with hosiery."

"No blue jeans or cowboy boots will be worn by counsel," the rules said.

The judge in 10 years has never received a complaint about the ban and has never found a lawyer in contempt for wearing cowboy boots, he said.

"I am a reasonable person, a Texan by birth, a western rider, and I appreciate a good pair of cowboy boots as much as the next 'urban cowboy' does," said Madison.

Lakeway is 15 miles west of Austin.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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