Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fort Worth to Go First

Just as is the case with the Diocese of San Joaquin, there is only one, true Diocese of Fort Worth in the geographical area around Fort Worth which is a constituent part of the Anglican Communion, and it is a Diocese affiliated both with ACNA and the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Just as is the case with San Joaquin, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has been sued for all of its money and property by an upstart group that is not a Diocese, and which has never been officially admitted into union with the General Convention of ECUSA. Just as is the case with San Joaquin, the suit is currently on appeal to a higher court over the issue of whether a Diocese has the legal ability to realign itself with a denomination other than ECUSA.

However, unlike the case in San Joaquin, there is now a date that has been set for oral argument in the Court of Appeal -- and it will occur in the same week that oral arguments have been set in the Supreme Court of Virginia on the litigation between ECUSA, the Diocese of Virginia, and the Anglican District of Virginia. (The latter Court has not yet published a specific date and time for argument, but has announced only that arguments will occur sometime during its session meeting from April 12 to 16.)

The Court of Appeals for the Second District of Texas, which hears appeals from Fort Worth, has announced that it will hear oral argument on the writ sought by the Episcopal Diocese and Bishop Jack Iker on Wednesday, April 14, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

[UPDATE 03/12/2010: At the request of the attorneys for ECUSA/Bishop Gulick, who had a schedule conflict, the Court has rescheduled the hearing on the writ to Tuesday, April 27, beginning at 1:30 p.m.]

So Texas will go first, and Virginia and California should not be far behind. Your Curmudgeon predicts that at least one of these cases, and perhaps more, will not go well for ECUSA. And that should make its litigation strategy that much more difficult.


  1. Wonderful! I'll be on pins and needles all that day as I am in FTW. If I were to take a gander, I'd say Texas won't go well for TEC. I believe we have different property rights laws than CA, etc. I could be wrong.

  2. Our diocese's legal team is headed by Scott Brister, a retired justice of the Texas Supreme Court, and Shelby Sharpe, one of the most highly regarded litigators in the state. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy thinking about the arguments in the appellate court!

    If you haven't read the fine amicus brief filed in support of our position, I urge you to do so.

  3. Thank you, Fr. Foster, for commenting here. You will find that not only have I read and thoroughly enjoyed Mark Brown's fine amicus brief filed in the Fort Worth case, but I devoted a whole post to it here.

    If you attend the oral argument, I hope you write about it at your blog. I agree with you -- it should be most interesting.

  4. Ah, yes, Mr. Haley. I remember now your fine essay on the brief.

    I don't know that my teaching duties (middle school religion and history) will let me go hear the oral arguments, but I would love to be there. If I can go, I will drop you a line. (Once upon a time I was an attorney myself. Though sadly my brief west Texas oil & gas law practice in the mid-ninties didn't really equip me to be of any use to my diocese in the present unpleasantness.)

    Keep up the good work, sir!

  5. Good Luck to you all in Texas. I certainly hope that the Texas Court looks to South Carolina for a nice legal precedent.

  6. From Suzanne Gill at Stand Firm:
    We have been notified that the hearing date has been reset. Our new date is Tuesday, April 27, at 1:30 p.m.
    Your prayers are coveted.

    Suzanne and all, Our prayers are with you.

    SC Blu Cat Lady