Friday, April 04, 2008

Anglicans 1, Episcopal Church 0 in the First Inning

The judge in the Virginia case has issued his opinion. There has been a division in the Episcopal Church as well as the Anglican Communion. The Virginia division statute applies. Further argument will be heard at the trial level as to whether or not the Virginia statute is constitutional.

I'm thinking 815 loyalists are likely going to have a bad day today. By way of consolation, I'd like to point out that this case will almost certainly be appealed, possibly even to the Virginia Supreme Court.

The bad news is that it's my personal opinion that 1) the statute was complied with, 2) there has been a division and 3) it is constitutional. Were I a betting man, I'd be wagering against the Episcopal Church here. That doesn't mean that the Anglican case is a slam dunk. Just that the odds are in their favour.

PS As of this morning there has been no official reaction from 815. When there is, news of their reaction ("we're disappointed and we're appealing") will likely be posted here.

Addendum: The ENS has released an article on the subject. I found it curious that the first and last sentences of the article are all about property.


Anonymous said...

Is there any material significance to this? Other than that the Virginia Anglicans don't have to vacate the property for now, or that the court has established what lying sacks of dung work at/for 815?


Matthew said...

yes. It's not any kind of precedent for any of the suits outside of Virginia.

For the Virginia cases, this is pretty big. The court has to decide first whether there has been a division within the meaning of the statute. The court just decided there was. Next the court will have to decide if the statute is constitutional. That will happen later this year. Finally, if the court decides the statute is constitutional, then it will have to decide if the statute was properly followed.

So it's the necessary first step. But, the Anglican Diocese of Virginia had the burden of proof on the first step. For the second step, the burden shifts to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and 815.