File this one under the "Oh, for crying out loud!" department. The increasingly desperate barristers representing the national Episcopal Church have filed yet another frivolous petition in the Fort Worth case, this time taking their baseless argument to the nation's highest court.
The diocesan legal team was notified yesterday that TEC parties have filed an appeal with United States Supreme Court (USSC) asking it to review the Texas Supreme Court's judgment in our case. This form of appeal is known as a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari (review of the case).
Historically, the USSC agrees to review only 1 in 100 of the certiorari petitions filed annually. Our attorneys believe there is little chance the Court will review our case because (1) there is no final judgment yet; (2) the USSC has no power to review issues of Texas law unless there is a violation of the U.S. Constitution; and (3) TEC’s petition asks the Court to abandon the Neutral Principles approach to church property disputes, which every state has adopted for the last 30 years.
To speed up this process, the Diocese plans to waive a response to TEC’s petition. The Court’s practice is not to grant certiorari without requesting a response first, so our “waiver” merely means that we will not file a response unless and until the Court asks for one. That way the petition goes to the justices’ chambers for a potential denial in the near future; if we file a response it delays distribution to the justices’ chambers by several months.
This filing does not affect the calendar that has been set in the 141st District Court.