Posted By: Mainstream UMC
Mainstream UMC supports reconsideration of Judicial Council Decision 1378 regarding the Traditional Plan.
We, the undersigned respectfully request the Judicial Council to accept this Petition for Reconsideration of JCD 1378 in 0419-01 regarding the Traditional Plan and place it on your docket for the Fall 2019. We believe that in order for the Judicial Council to continue to be viewed as a non-partisan resource for the church, these serious concerns must be addressed.
Reconsideration is specifically contemplated by the Judicial Council’s Rules of Practice and Procedure. Rule IX.A provides: “Whenever a decision of the Judicial Council is shown to be in error, or in order to prevent a manifest injustice resulting from the interpretation of a Judicial Council decision, the Judicial Council on its own motion, or on a petition filed by an interested party may, by a majority vote, reconsider any ruling or action taken by it.” Reconsideration will be allowed if “a majority of the Judicial Council members . . . vote in favor of reconsideration . . . .” Rule IX.C
We believe reconsideration is justified for the following reasons:
- Granting reconsideration will provide the Judicial Council with the opportunity to allow for oral argument, thereby treating this post-Special Session case with the same level of importance that was given to the cases that preceded GC2019, namely JCD 1360. In this instance the Judicial Council invited the parties (and even various amici) to present oral argument, and the hearing was live-streamed for benefit of the church as a whole. This case deserves the same care — with able advocates appearing to share their perspectives and field questions from the Council’s members, and with all concerned understanding the significance of these issues to United Methodists everywhere.
- We believe decision number 1378 can be shown to be in error in regard to the Council’s application of the Doctrine of Severability. This is the decision’s linchpin, and the only predicate for affirming the relatively few Traditional Plan provisions that survived scrutiny under the. Most significantly, the Judicial Council applied the wrong legal standard—making exactly the wrong presumption—in a case in which the legislation under review lacks an explicit “severability” clause, that is, a clause in which the legislature has specifically declared its “intent that invalid provisions shall not operate to destroy the law as a whole.”Railroad Retirement Bd. v. Alton R. Co., 295 US 330, 361-62 (1935). When that is the case, the requisite legal “presumption is that the legislature intends an act to be effective as an entirety — that is to say, the rule is against the mutilation of a statute; and if any provision be unconstitutional, the presumption is that the remaining provisions fall with it.” Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 US 238, 312 (1936) (emphasis added).
- We believe decision number 1378 can be shown to be in error in regard to how the Council misapplied the doctrine of res judicata. Here, the Council declined to review any of the distinct arguments raised by General Conference delegates to challenge the constitutionality of the TP petitions that the Judicial Council had previously affirmed in JCD 1366. The doctrine of res judicata holds that an issue previously adjudicated cannot be relitigated in a subsequent action between the same parties. That doctrine cannot be used to dispense with any arguments advanced by delegates to GC2019, for none of them were (nor could they have been) parties to the docket entry decided in JCD 1366, a matter filed solely by the Council of Bishops. And, at a minimum, res judicata cannot be used to justify the Council’s refusal to consider entirely distinct constitutional arguments raised by the delegates in this proceeding – i.e., arguments that were not previously advanced as grounds for invalidating the TP petitions that survived constitutional scrutiny based on the arguments considered in JCD 1366.
Below is the link to the complete Petition for Reconsideration. We respectfully request that you place this on your Fall Docket. Everyone agrees that our United Methodist Church is in a generational crisis and this issue deserves further evaluation.
Link to Petition for Reconsideration: https://mainstreamumc.com/documents/resources/2019-06-14PetitionForReconsideration.pdf
General Conference Delegates Tom Berlin,
Jay Brim, Evelynn Caterson, Lonnie Chafin, Ginger Gaines-Cirelli,
Adam Hamilton, Mark Holland, Phil Moots, Dave Nuckols,
Donna Pritchard, And Cynthia Weems