By A.S. Haley, Anglican Curmudgeon.
[Today], September 23, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time, the Supreme Court of South Carolina will hear oral arguments in the appeal, taken by Bishop vonRosenberg, ECUSA and its rump group that calls itself “the Episcopal Church in South Carolina”, from the adverse decision last February by Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein. Her opinion, which followed a three-week-long trial in July of last year, declared that Bishop Mark Lawrence, his Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and 36 of its parishes were the sole owners of their respective properties, including the trade name, seal and marks of the historic Diocese, which was one of the original founders of ECUSA (then “PECUSA”) itself.
Heading up the panel hearing the case will be Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal, who in that same position authored the Court’s unanimous 2009 opinion in the case of All Saints Waccamaw v. Episcopal Church, which I quoted and analyzed in this earlier post. Also serving on the panel will be Associate Justice Donald W. Beatty, who joined in the Waccamaw opinion. It is not known yet whether any of the other sitting Justices have recused themselves (two of them did so in the Waccamaw case); the fifth, Justice Kaye Hearn, assumed her seat on the Court after the arguments in the 2009 case.
Chief Justice Toal, whose religion is Roman Catholic, is no stranger to the concept of what makes a church “hierarchical.”
Related article: On the Oral Arguments in South Carolina