By Jennifer Berry Hawes, The Post and Courier (South Carolina).
When the ongoing lawsuit over The Episcopal Church’s local breakup saga landed before the state Supreme Court last week, several justices peppered questions at an attorney representing parishes that broke away from the national church.
Among those who spoke most was Justice Kaye G. Hearn.
Since the hearing, her relationship with The Episcopal Church and one of its parishes where she worships is raising questions about whether she should have recused herself from the case.
Hearn used to be a member of a Conway parish, St. Paul’s, that left The Episcopal Church along with Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina in 2012. After years of arguing with the national church over Scriptural interpretations and governance powers, most parishes in the diocese joined them.
They then sued the national church to retain their properties along with the diocese’s name and identifying marks. That case landed before the state Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Attorney A.S. Haley, who blogs as the “Anglican Curmudgeon,” called Hearn’s behavior at the oral arguments “blatant bias” in a recent post.
“To this attorney, it is simply unbelievable that a sitting Justice who had long ago subscribed to these principles in public would not recuse herself from sitting in judgment on Bishop Lawrence’s case,” Haley wrote.
Related article: Blatant Bias on Display in ECUSA’s South Carolina Case