Texas law authorized a municipal bond election procedure that distinguished between voters registering property for taxation and voters not registering property. The law provided that a bond issue would pass only in the event that that it was approved by both a majority of participants casting votes as registrants of property and the combined majority of all voters. The city of Fort Worth (defendant) held a bond election for the purpose of authorizing debt to construct a public library. The bond issuance was approved by the combined majority of voters, but did not receive approval from the majority of participants voting as registrants of property. Because the proposed bond issuance did not receive majority approval from both categories of voters, the city regarded the election results as a denial of authority for bond issuance. A group of individuals voting as non-registrants (plaintiffs) filed suit in the federal district court asserting that the bond election procedure afforded an unconstitutional preference to registrants of taxable property in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court ruled in favor of the non-registrants. City officials petitioned the Supreme Court for review.