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Episcopal Church v. Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

Petition for certiorari denied on February 22, 2021
Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
20-536 Tex. N/A N/A N/A N/A OT 2020

Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is counsel on an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in this case.

Issues: (1) Whether the First Amendment requires courts to enforce express trusts in church governing documents (as some jurisdictions hold, in line with Jones v. Wolf's first safeguard), or whether state law may render such trusts unenforceable (as others hold); (2) whether the First Amendment requires courts to defer to churches on questions of polity (as some jurisdictions hold, in line with Jones’ second safeguard), or whether courts may apply state law to determine the structure of a church (as others hold); and (3) whether the neutral-principles approach may constitutionally be applied — either prospectively or retroactively — to resolve church-property disputes.

DateProceedings and Orders (key to color coding)
Oct 19 2020Petition for a writ of certiorari filed. (Response due November 23, 2020)
Nov 16 2020Motion to extend the time to file a response from November 23, 2020 to December 23, 2020, submitted to The Clerk.
Nov 17 2020Motion to extend the time to file a response is granted and the time is extended to and including December 23, 2020.
Nov 23 2020Brief amicus curiae of The Rutherford Institute filed. VIDED.
Nov 23 2020Brief amici curiae of General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), et al. filed. VIDED.
Dec 23 2020Brief of respondents The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, et al. in opposition filed. VIDED.
Jan 06 2021DISTRIBUTED for Conference of 1/22/2021.
Jan 06 2021Reply of petitioners The Episcopal Church, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 12 2021DISTRIBUTED for Conference of 2/19/2021.
Feb 22 2021Petition DENIED.