A last-ditch appeal to the state's highest court was rejected Thursday, officially ending a months-long fight by two Newton residents to have School Committee candidate Jonathan Yeo thrown off the ballot over questions about his residency.
The rejection of the appeal means that an earlier Newton Election Commission decision confirming Yeo's status as an eligible candidate will stand, and Yeo's name will appear on the ballot in this Tuesday's election.
Attorneys for Yeo and those challenging his candidacy confirmed this morning that the Supreme Judicial Court had rejected an application for further review of the case. Peter Harrington, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he would not take the case to federal court.
"There's nothing further that I can do," Harrington said.
The decision comes just days before an election that pits Yeo against Margaret Albright in Ward 2.
Robert Sinsheimer, Yeo's attorney, praised the ruling and said it means that voters, not courts, will decide the race.
"Personally, I think itís unfortunate he even had to go through it."
Harrington said he believes the ruling, despite a clause that limits its application in future cases, represents a major change in how the legal definition of "domicile" is interpreted. The advent of electronic court records means that such "unpublished" opinions now routinely come to light in research for other cases, Harrington said.
"It could have an impact on state taxes and probate matters. I think itís a significant change in the law.... Other lawyers that I know have commented to me about it."
But, Harrington acknowledged, Yeo's side "did a good job putting their case forward."
Yeo was serving his third term on the School Committee from Ward 4 when he purchased a new house in Ward 2 late last year. Because he continued to live in his old home while renovations were underway at his Ward 2 residence, two Newton residents asked the Newton Election Commission to have Yeo thrown off the Ward 2 ballot.
Those residents, Daniel L. Fahey and James W. Bueche, took their fight all the way from the local Election Commission to the state's highest courts through a series of appeals.