A.S. Haley—Decision in Quincy: ECUSA Has no Rule against Dioceses Withdrawing

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I will have a fuller analysis of the rest of the opinion up later today at StandFirm, and will integrate that analysis with my other Quincy posts at this blog in due course. For now, this represents a great legal victory (albeit at the trial level) for those dioceses of ECUSA who are facing lawsuits over their actions to remove themselves from membership in Quincy. And for that reason, ECUSA will almost certainly appeal the ruling. But as Bishop Iker reminded 815 following the decision in favor of his diocese in Texas, it is never too late for 815 to come to its senses, and stop this endless warfare in which Christians everywhere lose.

Read it all and follow the link and please read the ruling.

Allan Haley's fuller analysis 'The Importance of the Quincy Decision' is now posted on StandFirm here

and watch the interview he has just given to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV below:

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Quincy* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

Posted September 10, 2013 at 12:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Milton Finch wrote:

Now is not the time for TEc to double down on litigation.  There comes a time when, looking at the argument and recent court rulings, one needs to step back and say, “Very many, including those that think like me, are beginning to see the vindictiveness and greed.”

September 10, 3:50 pm | [comment link]
2. Cennydd13 wrote:

This is indeed very good news for the Anglican Diocese of Quincy, and I applaud Judge Ortbal’s ruling.  No doubt, TEC will file an appeal, but I think they’ll just be throwing their money down the drain if they do.  With the decisions in the Diocese of South Carolina, Fort Worth, and now in Quincy, the game seems to be turning against them, and I think there’ll be more coming down the pike.  Our case will be heard January 6th in Fresno.

September 10, 5:21 pm | [comment link]
3. Mark Baddeley wrote:

Wowsers, the three paragraphs on page 13 (I’ll leave the interested reader to read them) followed by this parenthetical paragraph at page 14:

(The deferential approach is permissible under the First Amendment only if the appropriate church governing body can be determined without the resolution of doctrinal questions and without extensive inquiry into religious polity.) [emphasis added]

In the three paragraphs before the judge outlines how the evidence is complex and self-contradictory and so (implicitly) would require the resolution of doctrinal questions and an extensive inquiry into religious polity - quoting the TEC expert who under questioning indicated that his understanding of the polity of the TEC was not expressed in the constitution but arose from his extensive inquiry into the doctrine and history of TEC’s polity.

But if that paragraph above is accepted more widely, and other jurisdictions (e.g. Supreme Court) agree about the nature of the evidence, then it looks to this untrained reader that TEC’s case is utterly toast. You can only defer to hierarchy if hierarchy can be established easily and without requiring the court to make a call on doctrine and without the need for a broad-ranging investigation. That could potentially require courts to use the neutral principles method when dealing with Diocese v TEC conflicts.

September 10, 6:34 pm | [comment link]
4. cseitz wrote:

#3. This has been the consistent position of ACI and it was what our expert testimony in this case also argued. It formed the content of the amicus brief in SCOT, upon which the judges in that case only obliquely relied. That is partly why, as you intimate, Judge Ortbal’s ruling is so powerful. He did his homework (if I am say so).

September 10, 6:41 pm | [comment link]
5. Cennydd13 wrote:

I’m also beginning to wonder if TEC may want to re-think their strategy, since the handwriting seems to be on the wall lately.  How much longer can they go on spending so much money before they finally come to the conclusion that they can’t keep this up?  Sure, right now they may have enough, but the question is “how much is enough?”  It can’t go on forever.

September 10, 6:44 pm | [comment link]
6. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Two comments.  First, this is now the third major victory in a row for the orthodox side (SC, TX, Quincy), so that it’s beginning to seem like we’re finally starting to get some legal momentum going our way.  Thanks be to God.

Second, all of us who are contending for the cause of the true gospel in Anglicanism owe a huge debt to those who testified or argued this important case.  That certainly includes the ACI team and Counselor Haley.

David Handy+

September 10, 9:15 pm | [comment link]
7. Luke wrote:

Just remember, gentlemen, that the basis for the SC decisions, whilst in many ways or most ways, similar to the recent results from TX and IL, arises from completely differing state laws. Also, in SC, rulings have come from the SC Supreme Court.

As much fun as it is to lump the results for all these instances together, and whilst the results are, or may be, as I say, similar, they are similar for differing reasons.

AND, the cases have not reached the Courts of final jurisdiction in either TX or IL.

September 10, 11:57 pm | [comment link]
8. Milton Finch wrote:

True, Luke.  The great thing about this case is the way it gives a road map that is spelled out turn by turn in how neutral principles must be applied when dealing with this entity called TEc.  It is a huge victory in stopping the red herrings and horrible hand waving TEc has done that has confused so many judges in other cases.

September 11, 12:29 am | [comment link]
9. Cennydd13 wrote:

I think I see a pattern developing here.

September 11, 2:18 am | [comment link]
10. Robert Atkins wrote:

#3 and #4:

And how ironic that all that money that TEC paid Professor Mullin has served only to undermine their own case.  One wonders if they may be wanting some of it back!

September 11, 3:19 am | [comment link]
11. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Well, it seems TEC’s leaders’ case is as contradictory as their theology.  They are at least consistent in that.

Seems to me that aside from the instant issues, that this is also an encouraging sign that the polity of the fine church that TEC once was is not dead yet.  All credit to those remnants, thinking in particular of Professor Seitz and the brave bishops, who have not been prepared to substitude the lies put forward from the Assad regime at 815 and Goodwin Proctor for the historical truth and checks and balances carefully put in place by the church fathers of TEC to protect it from going off the deep end.

And yes, a pattern is being reestablished - the most basic legal principle that a trust particularly of property cannot be established or implied without the consent of the settlor particularly evidenced in writing.    No ‘deemed’ consent has been found by the courts such as the PB has dishonestly asserted that she has received to ‘voluntarily’ depose priests and to steal control of the assets of the UTO.  The father of lies is being brought into the light [John 3:19-21].

September 11, 8:11 am | [comment link]
12. Luke wrote:

I have a gut feeling that ECUSA is going to do just fine in the remaining CA cases. I simply do not see any change in direction in CA courts from what we’ve seen to date.

Gosh, I hope I’m wrong!!!

Are there ongoing cases in any other states?

September 11, 9:39 am | [comment link]
13. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Gut feelings are no substitute for cerebral cogitations Luke.

September 11, 9:47 am | [comment link]
14. cseitz wrote:

“Also, in SC, rulings have come from the SC Supreme Court”—also in TX, the rulings have come from the TX Supreme Court.

September 11, 10:03 am | [comment link]
15. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Luke (#12),

I live in VA (Richmond), and there is one remaining case still alive here, since the Falls Church (the biggest parish in the ACNA) has decided to make an appeal to SCOTUS, the US Supreme Court.  If (and of course, it’s a very big if,) the highest court in the land agrees to take the Falls Church case in order to adjudicate the confusing mess created by the differing results from various state supreme court rulings, then we could see a truly momentous decision in which TEC’s whole fragile house of cards (legally speaking) comes crashing down at last.  That’s what I’m hoping for.

David Handy+

September 11, 10:09 am | [comment link]
16. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Yes, very good point, C Seitz! TWO state supreme courts (TX and SC) have found TEC’s case wanting. [Are there other states where the Supreme Court has ruled in similar cases??]. I truly appreciate the ability of those who take a stand and remain faithful to it! The ACI has been very consistent in their approach to analyzing these lawsuits. Also, lawsuits where a parish leaves a diocese is very different from the situations where a diocese (or majority therein) leave TECUSA. What we are seeing is that courts are realizing that there is nothing in TEC’s constitution and canons that clearly states a diocese can not dissociate from TEC. I know the other side has called the TX supreme court ruling a “strict constructionist view”- I gather in comparison to TEC’s loosey-goosey it (the c and c) implies whatever we *want* to it to imply sort of attitude. I am thinking that is not going over so well with the courts anymore. Interesting indeed!

I think TEC has begun to see the*proverbial* light…. we can hope.  Bishop von Rosenberg has not *deposed* our (Diocese of SC) clergy simply removed them from ministry (i think that is the correct term that was used). That is a first!

September 11, 10:21 am | [comment link]
17. Cennydd13 wrote:

Luke, I wouldn’t count too much on our liberal judges (Judge Harrison is not one of them, by the way) here in California continuing to lean in ECUSA’s favor.  The handwriting is on the wall, and even they are capable of understanding its implications.

September 11, 11:40 am | [comment link]
18. Pb wrote:

Winning cases have shifted the inquiry to real estate law and played down the church angles which at first seemed controlling. The further you can get away from church issues the more you can stress neutral principles. It is hard to do both at the same time and be clear. In that respect, there is a trend in the newer cases.

September 11, 3:23 pm | [comment link]
19. Luke wrote:

13. Goes without saying, doesn’t it? The very definition of “gut feeling” supports your point. Does not mean we should not have gut feelings, or that they are always incorrect.

14. My error…Thank you for the correction. Working from memory; should have checked the record. Mea culpa.
However, isn’t it valid to say that in TX, a new trial is to be held at the lower level? If so, isn’t there always a chance of a slip up? We all hope this doesn’t occur, of course.

17. I sure hope you are correct. It’s awfully easy, however, to be swayed by wishful thinking.

September 11, 10:39 pm | [comment link]
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