Columbia, S.C. (July 1, 2019) – The South Carolina Supreme Court announced on June 28, 2019 that it has denied the Petition for a Writ of Mandamus submitted by The Episcopal Church (TEC) on March 22, 2019, seeking to compel Judge Edgar W. Dickson to rule in their favor. The Parishes and the Diocese of South Carolina (Diocese) responded on March 26, requesting the Supreme Court’s permission to intervene. On April 12 they submitted their Return to the Petition.
Today’s action by the Supreme Court allowed the intervention of all the parties whose property TEC seeks and confirms the arguments presented in the Return which they filed. The intent of the Petition requested by TEC was to have the Supreme Court require the Circuit Court to interpret the Supreme Court’s August 2, 2017 ruling as TEC wished it interpreted. The Parishes and the Diocese opposed the Petition essentially arguing that the issues were before Judge Dickson who was using the discretion afforded him by state law to resolve them.
At its core, the Petition was an attempt to end run Judge Dickson’s exercise of his discretion in interpreting the August 2, 2017 decision in a manner that may differ from TEC’s interpretation. However, the Supreme Court refused to tell Judge Dickson how he should rule in interpreting the August 2 decision. Instead the Court expressed confidence that Judge Dickson would “resolve the matters that are pending, in an expeditious manner.”
The Diocese of South Carolina welcomes this decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court that the Circuit Court is the proper venue to resolve the issues arising from the August 2, 2017 decision.
The briefs in support of the motions by the Diocese to dismiss this Petition can be found on the Diocesan website, along with further background on the legal struggle. The full June 28, 2019, ruling by the Supreme Court may also be found among the related court documents found there .
About the Diocese of South Carolina
The Diocese was founded in 1785 by the parishes of the former South Carolina colony. Four years later the Diocese became a founding diocese of The Episcopal Church. Based in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the Diocese is one of the oldest religious districts in the United States and counts among its members several of the oldest, operating churches in the nation.
The Diocese of South Carolina is a member of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and recognized by Anglican Dioceses and Provinces around the world, many of whom have broken fellowship with The Episcopal Church. In 2013 the Diocese joined the global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and entered into a formal relationship of Provisional Primatial Oversight with the Global South Primates. It was welcomed as a member diocese of the ACNA in June 2017.