Episcopal Diocese of Virginia: Appeal Hearing Set for April 13

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Supreme Court of Virginia has announced that it will hear the appeal of the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church on Tuesday, April 13. The Diocese is challenging the constitutionality of Virginia's one-of-a-kind division statute (Va. Code § 57-9(A)) and the rulings of the Circuit Court, which allowed former Episcopalians to claim Episcopal Church property as their own. We expect a ruling on June 11.

Communicants of the Diocese are welcome to attend the hearing, although seating is quite limited. The Diocese has requested special arrangements to accommodate overflow seating, and we will keep you updated with news of these arrangements.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Virginia* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

24 Comments
Posted March 30, 2010 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Finally.  It will be so good to have this interminable case come to an end at last.  And I think the chances of the ADV churches winning are very good.  The Fairfax Circuit Court Judge (Bellows) did an outstanding job and TEC bears a heavy burden of proof in trying to overturn his ruling.  And the state attorney general will be siding with the orthodox churches.

If we were to see conservative victories in VA and also in the Ft. Worth case in TX, then TEC’s reckless legal gamble will backfire on its foolish leaders.

David Handy+

March 30, 5:04 pm | [comment link]
2. MotherViolet wrote:

I wonder why they are attempting to swamp the court with supporters?

To my knowledge no parishes have taken ‘episcopal property’ only property they bought with their own money and maintained over the years. It is a pity the Diocese of Virginia did not stick with the spirit of their own ‘protocol for departing congregations’. It could have been a profound witness and example to the wider communion.

Pray for justice

http://www.churchoftheword.net/tec_to_nigeria.html

March 30, 5:08 pm | [comment link]
3. upnorfjoel wrote:

I went out to look at Episcopal Life On Line today, and saw that the only news filling their front page Diocesan News block were headlines about various property lawsuits.  Three headlines to be exact, and they ran out of space.
This is TEC today…and will be for far into the future, or at least until they run out of “Mission” funds to abscond with.

March 30, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
4. DavidH wrote:

NRA, 1, no offense intended, but your legal analysis leaves something to be desired.  The issues on appeal are almost entirely issues of law, not of fact, which means that there’s no “heavy burden of proof” because the court below gets no deference at all.  Even the CANA folks’ briefs don’t really dispute that. 

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but Virginia’s AG hasn’t exactly been wowing people with his legal work of late.  (Nor has his contribution to this case ever been particularly notable, IMHO.)

Nor should you assume that it ends with the Supreme Court of Virginia.  It likely won’t, whether the CANA folks win or lose.

March 30, 7:52 pm | [comment link]
5. DavidH wrote:

Robin Adams+, 2, you’re not attending?  Other clergy, vestry members, or congregants from the CANA side aren’t attending?  Your attempt to take issue with the Diocese press release is pretty flimsy.

March 30, 7:53 pm | [comment link]
6. William P. Sulik wrote:

#2. Glendermott - you write “pray for justice.”  Aye, this is what we are praying for and what we are confident of receiving.  Your comments bring to mind an exchange from Robert Bolt’s “A Man for All Seasons” with Sir Thomas More taking the role of the Orthodox Anglicans and Cromwell being played by KJS:


Sir Thomas: You threaten like a dockside bully.

Cromwell: How should I threaten?

Sir Thomas: Like a minister of state. With justice.

Cromwell: Oh, justice is what you’re threatened with!

Sir Thomas: Then I am not threatened.

March 30, 8:29 pm | [comment link]
7. MotherViolet wrote:

Of course ADV members are welcome to attend, especially as it concerns their property, but the DoV by their press release is shown to be manipulative of the system.

March 30, 9:35 pm | [comment link]
8. MotherViolet wrote:

We are not threatened by true justice either!

March 30, 9:40 pm | [comment link]
9. Choir Stall wrote:

Re; #4:
The Virginia Attorney General that isn’t, as you state “wowing” people is the new one. The previous Attorney General is the one that sided with the CANA churches.  He didn’t wow…and neither does he wince. He wins.

March 30, 10:10 pm | [comment link]
10. Choir Stall wrote:

...in case you wonder WHAT he wins…he’s moved up from Attorney General to become the Governor of Virginia.

March 30, 10:15 pm | [comment link]
11. Daniel wrote:

DavidH - That really is a cheap shot you took at the Virginia AG.  I assume you are referring to the sensationalized headlines about his recent opinion that state universities and colleges could not enact “gay rights” protection rules that would be enforceable at law, since Virginia does not recognize “gay” persons as a special, protected class.  The newspapers did a shoddy job of analysis and reporting on this one.  It was merely an opinion in response to questions from state universities and plowed no new ground.

March 30, 10:40 pm | [comment link]
12. DavidH wrote:

Choir Stall, clearly being elected Governor means the legal positions asserted by your office (contradicting past advice to legislators on the same topic) are correct.  Right.

Baloney, Daniel.  Your take on Cuccinelli’s opinion is overly generous, but that’s not all I was referring to.  He’s also launched two prominent, and at least legally uncertain, lawsuits against the federal government that plainly were motivated by and contain a large element of politics.

March 31, 12:38 am | [comment link]
13. DavidH wrote:

Robin Adams+, 7, yes, clearly a request for additional seating (coupled with detailed advice about how spectators should be respectful and can avoid problems) shows one to be “manipulative of the system.”  That remark pushes your commentary from flimsy to irrational / deranged territory.

March 31, 12:42 am | [comment link]
14. Choir Stall wrote:

Re: 12-

DavidH,
And you’re not being elected to any public office makes you right, how? The public trusts Governor O’Donnell because of his views.
“Trust”. That word escapes most players in TEC’s slow suicide these days. That’s what throws people, I guess.

March 31, 1:00 am | [comment link]
15. DavidH wrote:

Choir Stall, with respect to how this case will come out, I don’t claim to be right.  I have opinions.  They might turn out to be accurate; they might not. 

What I object to is the (uninformed) conclusion that something will happen or is correct simply because the AG takes a position.  The AG argues a lot of cases for a lot of reasons—sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

And I think that office-holders / politicians (of all stripes) justifiably aren’t held in great esteem these days, so it doesn’t impress me to point to the fact that someone was slick or well-connected enough to win an election.

March 31, 5:30 am | [comment link]
16. NoVA Scout wrote:

No. 2: when folks decide to leave a church, it’s virtually impossible to sort out “what they paid for” and separate it from what others paid for.  Generally, when one decides to leave, he doesn’t attempt to cash out by taking things.  Those who stay pay for things also.  Your construct doesn’t provide a useful structure for sorting out property rights following departures.

March 31, 5:59 am | [comment link]
17. William P. Sulik wrote:

I read DavidH’s ad hominem attack on Attorney General Cuccinelli above and thought about responding - but since it was an ad hominem attack and not germane to the subject of the post, I let it pass.  Nevertheless, Choirstall is correct in noting that it was the prior AG who initially filed in support of the Virginia law - which has the effect of supporting the position of the ADV churches. 

It should be remembered that the Attorney General of a state has the duty to defend the laws of the state. 

Anything beyond that is really outside the scope of this discussion.  DavidH’s comments are what are known as the comments of a “troll” and it is always best to not feed the trolls.  Just ignore it folks.

March 31, 7:50 am | [comment link]
18. Milton wrote:

Other than the remark about the current VA AG, I find DavidH’s comments not to be those of a troll but simply on the legal aspects of the issue, admittedly from his perspective, but without rancor.  Save the troll label for the likes of Drive-by Susan Russell.

March 31, 9:38 am | [comment link]
19. Sarah wrote:

RE: “He’s also launched two prominent, and at least legally uncertain, lawsuits against the federal government that plainly were motivated by and contain a large element of politics.”

What???

HORRORS!!!  A lawyer has launched a “legally uncertain” lawsuit?

What ever is this world coming to!!!

RE: “And I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but Virginia’s AG hasn’t exactly been wowing people with his legal work of late.”

Let’s rephrase.  “And I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but Virginia’s AG hasn’t exactly been wowing [political liberals] with his legal work of late.”

March 31, 9:49 am | [comment link]
20. CanaAnglican wrote:

I know only three things with absolute certainty about the outcome of this case:
1. I don’t know.
2. DavidH dosen’t know.
3. God knows.

I am really comfortable with that arrangement.  I would say I am especially pleased about item number two, but that would be snarky.  And, I really am just as comfortable with items one and three.  God pulled a bunch of very comfortable people out of Goshen.  Our best (read only) plan is to follow where He leads us, even if it is out of Goshen.  There is probably something better on the other side if the river.

March 31, 11:21 am | [comment link]
21. DavidH wrote:

Sarah, 19, legally uncertain was an attempt at charity.  I think, and the vast majority of constitutional scholars who I have seen quoted, that the result of the lawsuits may be quite certain.  In any event, it is the second part of that sentence that is more troubling in my mind—lawsuits that were motivated by and contain a large element of politics.  One can argue that’s the case with many lawsuits these days, but even where that’s true, most aren’t quite the naked political exercise that these suits are.

And unless your definition of a successful AG is someone who gets headlines and really ticks off liberals, Cuccinelli isn’t going to meet it.  On occasion, I enjoy things that make liberals wail, but that is not my primary criterion for legal or political success.  I prefer results.

April 1, 5:28 am | [comment link]
22. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Sarah, 19, legally uncertain was an attempt at charity.”

Yes, yes, of course.

RE: “I think, and the vast majority of constitutional scholars who I have seen quoted, that the result of the lawsuits may be quite certain.”

Oh, I’m not a legal scholar either, but I think it’s probable that the lawsuits will come to nothing.

Nevertheless, I am glad that they are checking every single angle, as should occur.

I don’t want a stone unturned in an effort to overturn this grossly corrupt and immoral legislation and I’m pleased that my ag is doing his job.

RE: ” . . . lawsuits that were motivated by and contain a large element of politics.”

Yes—I’m very very pleased by that.  Lawyers are motivated by politics, often.  And I’m glad conservatives have such as well.

RE: “And unless your definition of a successful AG is someone who gets headlines and really ticks off liberals, Cuccinelli isn’t going to meet it.”

I haven’t shared with you my definition of a successful ag, but a part of my definition has to do with their doing the right thing.

And what they have done is the right and appropriate and good thing.  I am pleased.

Naturally, I wouldn’t think you would think it a right and appropriate and good thing.  But that’s understandable as we don’t share the same values or foundational worldview.

April 1, 8:40 am | [comment link]
23. DavidH wrote:

Sarah, we do have differences.  One of them is that I don’t frequently assume I know people’s “values or foundational worldview” from limited interaction with them via the Internet.

Another (apparently) is our approach to the legal system.  I prefer a consistent approach—i.e. given that I don’t believe judicial activism is a good thing, I disapprove of both conservative and liberal attempts to use the court system to achieve political ends (or to address questions that should be addressed through the elected branches).

April 2, 8:03 am | [comment link]
24. Sarah wrote:

RE: “One of them is that I don’t frequently assume I know people’s “values or foundational worldview” from limited interaction with them via the Internet.”

Oh, one’s values and worldview may be made quite clear over the years of commenting, as yours has been.

And, frankly, as mine has been.

April 2, 9:34 pm | [comment link]
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