Your Curmudgeon has just received reliable word that ECUSA and its attorneys intend to ask the United States Supreme Court to review the (interlocutory!) decision by the Supreme Court of Texas in Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth v. Episcopal Church (USA), in which the Texas Court recently denied ECUSA’s petition for a rehearing. The decision is called “interlocutory” because it is not a final one — the case still has to go to trial before Judge Chupp in Tarrant County District Court.
The U.S. Supreme Court, as a rule, accepts review of interlocutory decisions only in cases of extreme emergency, where further proceedings in the lower court could wipe out a party’s chances ever to take a future appeal from the final decision, when it is eventually entered. (Recall that the Court denied the petition for review (“certiorari”) filed by St. James parish, in Newport Beach, following the interlocutory decision by the California Supreme Court in The Episcopal Church Cases — which returned those cases for trial, just as in Texas.)
Moreover, we have seen SCOTUS now deny review of no less than three already final decisions in recent church property cases: from the courts in Connecticut, Georgia and Virginia. So not only are the odds of the Court’s granting review of the Texas interlocutory decision virtually zero, but even if the decision were final, the odds would still be vanishingly small.
To waste ECUSA’s resources on such a petition to SCOTUS (which I estimate will cost ECUSA approximately fifteen to twenty-five thousand dollars), therefore, is a vain act which can be motivated only by another goal. And what could that other goal be? Why, of course — to keep up the financial and administrative pressure on Bishop Iker and the parishes of his Episcopal Diocese for as long as conceivably possible.