The docket sheet in the United States Supreme Court tells the tale. After receiving an extension of time, The Falls Church filed on October 9 in the Supreme Court its petition for writ of certiorari (or review) of the decision rendered by the Virginia Supreme Court last April 18 (and its denial of a rehearing on June 14).
The ever-cocky Episcopal Church (USA) and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, following its lead, declined to file responses to the petition. Four amici curiae (“friends of the court”, being organizations interested in the case) filed briefs in support of The Falls Church: ACNA, the Presbyterian Lay Committee, St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach, CA, and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The case went to conference last December just on those briefs. And — lo and behold! — the Court ordered ECUSA and its Diocese to file a response before it ruled on the petition.
Such a request is noteworthy, because the Court’s Rules explain that the Court ordinarily does not grant a pending petition without first calling for a response to it. Had the Court taken no interest in the petition, on the other hand, it could have denied the petition outright at its December 6 conference.
On December 30, Goodwin Procter for ECUSA and local Virginia counsel for the Diocese filed their joint response to the petition. And just over one week later, The Falls Church filed its reply. That same day, the Clerk distributed the briefs to the Justices for their case conference on January 24.