(Living Church) Deference vs. Neutral Principles

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Plaintiffs who sued the Episcopal Church in January for control of South Carolina church properties could ride to victory on the coattails of a 2009 decision involving a breakaway parish, according to two attorneys experienced in church property cases.

Both Lloyd Lunceford of Baton Rouge and Martin Nussbaum of Colorado Springs cite the All Saints Church at Pawleys Island case, in which the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of a breakaway parish.

Parameters established in that case could now help a larger group of plaintiffs prevail in a South Carolina Circuit Court, the lawyers said. But Nussbaum cautions that any plaintiff victory might be short-lived since the U.S. Supreme Court would likely overturn it if the case were to go that far.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

3 Comments
Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. CSeitz-ACI wrote:

The story would appear to be slightly overrun by events unfolding now in SC….

January 24, 8:44 am | [comment link]
2. jamesw wrote:

But Nussbaum cautions that any plaintiff victory might be short-lived since the U.S. Supreme Court would likely overturn it if the case were to go that far.

“It’s possible that the secessionists will have some success for some time, as long as they’re in the South Carolina courts,” says Nussbaum, an attorney with Rothberger Johnson & Lyons. “If it goes over to the federal courts … they’ll lose.”

What does Nussbaum base his conjecture on what the US Supreme Court would do on?  There is no precedent which suggests that the USSC would overturn the South Carolina approach, let alone even agree to hear the case.  This is unfounded speculation which seems to be colored by his personal opinion.

January 24, 2:13 pm | [comment link]
3. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Interesting but the SC Supreme Court has already decided that the Denis Canon does not apply in this state. Also TEC has had the opportunity to appeal to SCUS which they did not do in the All Saints Pawley’s Island case. 

I am not sure how the current lawsuit could be put in the Federal Courts especially as the current case deals with incorporated entities under SC law not federal law. Even Anglican Curmudgeon, Mr. Haley,  does not see this current case going before federal courts. This is wild speculation on this author’s part. Truly odd.

January 24, 4:57 pm | [comment link]
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