Support the Café

Search our Site

Breakaway SC diocese seeks new hearing before state Supreme Court

Breakaway SC diocese seeks new hearing before state Supreme Court

As expected, the breakaway diocese in lower South Carolina has filed a motion for a rehearing of the recent South Carolina Supreme Court opinion which ruled largely in favor of The Episcopal Church and the continuing diocese.

Two of the judges on the five-judge have since retired. It is understood that the judges who heard the case in 2015 are the ones who decide whether to accept or reject the motion.

The breakaway diocese also filed a motion for the recusal of Judge Kaye Hearn, something it did not do when the case was originally heard by the court in 2015. It is unusual if not unheard of for (1) a request for recusal on rehearing and (2) the request for recusal to be addressed in the form of a motion to a court rather than a request to the judge herself.

The Charleston Post & Courierhas a report. Some excerpts:

The Supreme Court’s five separate opinions revealed much disagreement among the justices but effectively reached the conclusion that civic law (“neutral principals (sic)”) did not necessarily trump church law; that The Episcopal Church is a hierarchical organization with a right to govern according to its canon laws; and that one such law — the Dennis Canon, which states that dioceses and parishes hold property in trust for the church — had been wrongly disregarded by the breakaway group.

Two of the justices clearly decided in favor of the [breakaway] diocese; two others were clearly on the side of The Episcopal Church; and one was the swing vote, determining that most of the breakaway parishes had in fact acceded to the Dennis Canon.

The [breakaway] diocese, which is led by Bishop Mark Lawrence, simultaneously filed a motion on Friday to recuse Justice Kaye Hearn from participating in the rehearing (should the court agree to do so). … Because she remained Episcopalian, opposing the actions of Lawrence and the many parishes that left the church, Hearn should remove herself from the case, the diocese argues.

The breakaway diocese issued a press release via Businesswire in which they describe their case, and provide links to their filings to the court.

From August 18, here is the continuing diocese’s statement Important facts to understand about The Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the state Supreme Court decision. The continuing diocese was not quoted in today’s Post & Courier report.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
prof Christopher Seitz

Surely the issue isn’t whether she hid anything. She openly despised the Bishop and sought his removal openly.

The issue is, in instances like this where the public record shows her predisposition

prof Christopher Seitz

So clearly, and so expect a recusal, and she refuses and in effect creates a 3-2 divided ruling.

Sorry but the comment box clogged.

Wayne Helmly

Respectfully, that is not what the motion indicates.

prof Christopher Seitz

Your comment referred to the original circumstances, in which a judge with obvious bias and investment in the outcome did not however recuse herself.

Wayne Helmly

Justice Hearn is a long-time Episcopalian, a fact that was widely known. She hid nothing. The time to request a recusal was before the case was heard. To do so now is ridiculous.

Alvah Whealton

I respectfully disagree.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café