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June 9, 2012


Supreme Court to Consider Episcopal/Presbyterian Petitions This Thursday

One of the most comprehensive blogs to cover the United States Supreme Court is SCOTUS blog, written by former clerks to the Supreme Court justices who are now practicing attorneys. They pride themselves on their ability to cull through the weekly avalanches of petitions for review, and to select out those very few which, in their expert opinion, are likely candidates for acceptance.

Their post covering the “Petitions to Watch” for the upcoming Supreme Court conference this next Thursday, June 14, is now up. It discusses thirteen of the petitions pending on the Court’s calendar and noted as having been circulated for consideration at the June 14 conference.

It is not possible to get an exact number of all the petitions which the Court will take up next Thursday, but if the list of petitions acted upon at the May 31 conference is any indication (and announced Monday, June 4), then there will be approximately 150 for it to consider. More than half of those will be in forma pauperis petitions, i.e., petitions (often hand-written) submitted by prisoners and others who have no money either to pay an attorney to represent them, or to pay the fees to file a petition with the Court. But at least 50 or so will be petitions with counsel on both sides, formally printed and bound in the manner the Court’s rules require.

Of the petitions presented at the May 31 conference, the orders list discloses that review was granted in only one of the petitions presented (a formal petition; none of the in forma pauperis petitions was granted), and one other petition received a summary ruling, granting review and sending the case back to the lower court for consideration in light of another recent Supreme Court opinion.

By the same token, the Court published this morning its list of orders with regard to the cases it considered at its June 7 conference last week. One again, only two petitions for review were granted out of the more than three dozen considered, and none of the hundreds of in forma pauperis petitions was granted. However, it should be noted that the SCOTUS blog had listed both of those petitions in its list of petitions to watch for the June 7 conference

I recommend that you use the links at this page of the SCOTUS blog to download and review all of the briefs in the two church property cases (scroll down to Nos. 11-1101 (Timberridge) and 11-1139 (Bishop Seabury). They make for some fascinating reading—especially the amicus briefs, which add points not covered in the main briefs. The Episcopal Church (USA)‘s responding brief in the Bishop Seabury case [caution: large .pdf download] is an especially noteworthy one, partly for its arrogance in cataloging all of the minor decisions in its favor by inferior courts which have absolutely no weight as precedents, as well as for its egregious misrepresentation of the cases which have gone against it. If I have time, I will have more to say on the briefs before Thursday.


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9 comments

Mr. Haley.
I briefly skimmed both petitioner’s statements and one respondents statements.  Interesting if you say but these cases ( which were decided in favor of the local congregation) are not like these which have been decided in our favor, well then you must rule in our favor.  LOL! Also, saying well 26 out of 28 property cases involving TEC have been decided in our favor so we MUST be right!

Really? Do they think the justices of the SCOTUS is really going to buy this kind of reasoning?? Does anyone else see that as kind of childish? Well so and so parents let them do it. Don’t you remember what your parents told you. Well if 30 people were told to jump off a cliff and did,  would you? Just because the numbers are *with you*  and everyone else has done it does not make it right. Sheesh. Talk about delusion.

I find both petitioners’ statements much more clearly stated and thoroughly grounded in actual fact. I am not a lawyer by any stretch but even I can recognize clearly worded and reasoned arguments.

[1] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 6-11-2012 at 04:07 PM · [top]

Sheesh. Such derision. One wonders if anyone else other than you and Mr Haley among the commenters went to Harvard, undergrad and Law School and have had a long and successful legal career, Blue State Cat Lady? The reason why TEC is dying. A denomination made up of blue state cat ladies, top to bottom.

[2] Posted by A Senior Priest on 6-11-2012 at 09:14 PM · [top]

RE: “The reason why TEC is dying. A denomination made up of blue state cat ladies, top to bottom.”

Eh?

I wonder if you may have misread SC blu cat lady’s ironic comments . . . ?

Also it is not “blue state” but “blu cat”—a significant distinction!  ; > )

[3] Posted by Sarah on 6-11-2012 at 10:09 PM · [top]

Sorry if my comments seemed ridiculous. Anyway, the best thing I can write is go read the various things Mr. Haley has linked. REad them and you will understand my comments. It is not so much irony but the attitude in TEC’s attorney’s responses that is unbelievably arrogant just because more courts agree with us, we must be right. Since when is that sort of attitude a way to come any sort of serious legal judgement? This is a serious legal matter and needs to be understood as such. Mr Haley has written extensively on his own blog as well as more recently here about the various judgements in various state courts. That is all

[4] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 6-12-2012 at 07:21 AM · [top]

Senior Priest,

Here is Mr. Haley’s own comment:

The Episcopal Church (USA)‘s responding brief in the Bishop Seabury case [caution: large .pdf download] is an especially noteworthy one, partly for its arrogance in cataloging all of the minor decisions in its favor by inferior courts which have absolutely no weight as precedents, as well as for its egregious misrepresentation of the cases which have gone against it.

Now you don’t have to agree with his conclusions. However when I as untrained lay person can read the same documents as Mr. Haley can see the same sort of arrogance in their response perhaps Mr. Haley is correct in his representation of their attitude. 

Take the time to read esp links to the petitioner’s. Very, very well written so well written that even a lay person like myself can understand the basic argument and why the Supreme court should take up these cases.  THAT is excellent writing. Not the bluster and arrogance found in TEC’s argument of “more have agreed with us so we must be right”.

[5] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 6-12-2012 at 07:46 AM · [top]

I am happy to admit to being wrong, especially when it comes to misreading irony. Sorry!

[6] Posted by A Senior Priest on 6-12-2012 at 10:24 AM · [top]

Senior Priest. No need to apologize. I do recommend reading these PDFs linked by Mr. Haley if you want to learn more about these cases.  Quite enlightening even to non attorneys like myself.  Many thanks Mr. Haley for posting these links.

[7] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 6-12-2012 at 04:53 PM · [top]

Six of nine justices are Catholic. A finding against hierarchical churches could have significant impacts on the Catholic Church. I don’t know how Catholic Church properties are held, but I presume that there is some form of trust. Could this be a factor in the outcome?

[8] Posted by NotaBene on 6-16-2012 at 07:33 PM · [top]

NotaBene [#8], in the Catholic church, most titles to parish property are held in the name of the Bishop or Archbishop of the Diocese. There are canons which make it clear that he holds the title in trust for the parish or congregation, but he has the final say over the disposition of the property.

So the situation in the RCC is the opposite of that in ECUSA, where the parishes hold legal title, but the church canons provide that they hold title in trust for the Diocese in which they are located and for the national Church.

Given that difference, I don’t see it as a factor in the justices’ thinking. Instead, if they do not take the cases for review, one might say that it was because there were no Protestant justices on the Court to advocate for review, and that as Catholics, they are concerned with other matters besides how property is held.

[9] Posted by A. S. Haley on 6-16-2012 at 09:28 PM · [top]

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