Friday, April 18, 2014

Texas Supreme Court Denies Motion for Stay / Recall

Today, the Texas Supreme Court issued an order denying ECUSA's motion for a stay or recall of its mandate pending ECUSA's request to the United States Supreme Court to review the Texas Court's decision in the Fort Worth case. This means that the case may proceed unimpeded to summary judgment, or a trial, in front of Judge Chupp in Tarrant County's 141st District Court.

In the extremely unlikely event that SCOTUS were to accept review of the Texas decision, proceedings would halt until that Court issued its opinion. But as I explained in this earlier post, the interlocutory nature of the Texas opinion makes the odds of further review by SCOTUS vanishingly small, and virtually zero. (Barring any request for an extension, ECUSA has until June 19 to file its petition with SCOTUS.)

Bishop Iker and his Diocese said today in a press release:
The next step in the litigation here in Fort Worth is a hearing at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 24, in the courtroom of Judge John Chupp, where we have requested that he set aside the supersedeas order and refund to the Diocese the $100,000 cash bond we posted two years ago in order to maintain possession of our property. With his original decision having now been reversed by the Texas Supreme Court, there are no legal grounds for the order to remain in effect.

In addition, attorneys for the Diocese are completing new pleadings and a revised motion for summary judgment, which should be filed with the 141st district court sometime next month.

Once again, it is time for the TEC lawyers to come clean with their clients about their prospects in this case and to stop filing more and more unnecessary legal motions that only delay the process. Without a significant benefactor paying all their legal fees, the small little group calling itself “the local Episcopal parties” could never have taken matters this far. It is prudent for them to cut their losses and move on.
As I have observed many times, the Diocese cases are not like the many parish cases that ECUSA has won in various courts. In the parish cases, there has always been language in the parish articles or bylaws which binds them to follow the Church's canons without reservation. But ECUSA cannot point to any such language in the case of the mostly autonomous and independent Dioceses. What is more, any attempt by ECUSA to restrict its members' freedom to withdraw at will would be unenforceable in the courts, because of the First Amendment.

Indeed, it is time for ECUSA and its attorneys to cut their losses, and move on.


  1. Glad to read of this wonderful news for the Diocese of Ft. Worth. I have a question, Mr. Haley. There is one blogger here in SC who insists on saying that there is "stay" against the Diocese in our legal wranglings here. I realize that TECinSC has filed an appeal of Judge Houck's ruling. Yet the court has already scheduled the trial for July and Judge Goodstein has already told the attorneys be there or else.... What is this stay??

  2. I have been trying to learn what happened with ECSC's emergency motion to quash the deposition notices scheduled for this past week, Alexi, but have not heard anything. I suspect that the parties reached some kind of accommodation among themselves, without the need to press the court for any decision. But I am just speculating -- perhaps a reader who knows the facts will comment and enlighten us.

  3. Somehow, I have the feeling that ECUSA will not relent until they have to pawn Kate's chasuble of many colors and her miter. They have no sense of reason, no sense of balance, and are simply hell-bent on destroying the Episcopal Church forever.

  4. It is some slight solace, this decision by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas. The saddening thing is that it was necessary to have been required.
    El Gringo Viejo

  5. Curmudgeon, I don't know if this article from the Dio of SC website is any help, but here it is: