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