Saturday, January 04, 2014

A.S. Haley: Legal News Updates in South Carolina and San Joaquin

January 3, 2014

On Monday of this week, South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein denied the motion by the ECUSA parties to expand their counterclaims against Bishop Mark Lawrence and certain of his clergy—a motion which I previously predicted would be denied in this earlier post. In ruling from the bench, Judge Goodstein noted that the counterclaimants had failed to show any good reason to single out specific members of the clergy for acting in accordance with the wishes of the Diocese they served—actions that were ratified and approved by literally thousands of its members.

The Diocese’s Canon to the Ordinary, the Rev. Jim Lewis, responded to the ruling with this statement: ““We are grateful that Judge Goodstein dismissed this most recent effort to harass our people with time-consuming, expensive litigation. Attorneys for both TEC and TECSC have tried to distract attention from the denomination’s efforts to seize our property by suing our clergy and pursuing our lay leadership.  The judge’s decision ends the legal fishing expedition and forces all to focus on the only issue that matters: whether our religious freedom is protected.” 

Judge Goodstein also denied TECSC’s motion to reconsider her earlier grant of a preliminary injunction (to which TECSC’s attorneys originally stipulated), which forbids that group from appropriating the name, trademarks and insignia of Bishop Lawrence’s Diocese. As a result, the injunction will remain in force until the conclusion of the trial of the case, now scheduled for July... the rest

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Who Owns the Code of Life?; Biblical Archaeology discoveries of 2013; Global persecution 2014...more

Who Owns the Code of Life?
...In Myriad, all nine justices agreed that merely being the first to isolate a “naturally occurring” gene or other “product of nature” doesn’t entitle you to a patent. That came as no surprise. A year earlier, in Mayo v. Prometheus Labs, the Court had rejected a patent for a way to prescribe appropriate doses of certain drugs by tracking their metabolites in the patient’s blood, reaffirming long-standing rules that patents may not lay claim to a “law of nature,” “natural phenomenon,” or “abstract idea.” Previous rulings by the federal circuit court that decides patent appeals had reached similar conclusions in addressing attempts to patent all drugs that might be designed to control specific biochemical pathways. A description of a biological “mechanism of action” without a description of a new device or method to exploit it in some useful way is merely a “hunting license” for inventions not yet developed. A patent must describe “a complete and final invention”—a drug, for example, together with a description of the disorder that it can cure...

Biblical Archaeology's Top Ten Discoveries of 2013
Biblical Archaeology discoveries made in 2013 have given us new information about biblical events and people. This list is subjective, and based on news reports rather than peer-reviewed articles in scientific publications.

These discoveries illustrate the important work that goes on at excavations across Israel every year, and just scratch the surface of what has been found in 2013. Quite possibly a decade from now, with added perspective and more digging, the most important discoveries of 2013 may look different than this list...

Global persecution outlook for 2014
Islamist persecution is set to rise in 2014 ahead of elections in Nigeria and Afghanistan. Communism remains a potent oppressor of Christians, with North Korea maintaining its reputation as the worst persecutor of Christianity in the world.

"2014 looks set to be a turbulent year for Christians – especially ahead of elections in Nigeria and Afghanistan," says Colin King, the UK director of Release International, which serves the persecuted Church worldwide...  Related: End the Silence

Doctor: New Jersey Assisted Suicide Bill is Dangerous
...The bill is dangerous. Under A3328/S2259, once the lethal dose is prescribed, there is no requirement for medical oversight or psychological screening to eliminate the possibility that a patient is acting out of depression or dementia. The administration of the drugs is left to the patient or possibly a family member or friend, leaving the door wide open for abuse. Without accountability, the pressure on the patient is sharply accentuated. What if that patient is feeling pressure from the family to ask for that lethal dose of medication? Or worse yet, what if the lethal drugs are used for something more nefarious?...

Ruling by Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor sets off another battle over Obamacare
Advocates for a Denver-based congregation of Catholic nuns on Wednesday applauded an eleventh-hour order by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to temporarily block a requirement under the Affordable Care Act to insure birth control procedures, but attorneys and analysts agreed the fight is far from over.

The complicated politics of Obamacare  were on full display on the first day of the year as a key component of President Obama’s health care law was put on indefinite hold at the last moment by a Catholic court justice whom Mr. Obama himself named to the high court...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SC court rejects bid to add Bishop Lawrence to lawsuit

30 Dec 2013
Jan Pringle

St. George, SC, December 30, 2013 – South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein today denied efforts by The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) to expand its lawsuit by adding claims against four diocesan officials.

The judge, who had only a few months ago rejected efforts by the national Episcopal Church to drag literally all of the diocese’s officers into the suit, said there was no reason to single out the specific members of the clergy for acting consistent with the wishes of the Diocese as approved by literally thousands of members of the diocese.

In November, TECSC had asked the judge to expand its suit to include Bishop Mark Lawrence and three other clerics, alleging that actions they took to withdraw the diocese from the denomination were outside the scope of their legal authority and violated state law. In denying the motion, Judge Goodstein briefly referenced a last minute TECSC affidavit that asserted an early conspiracy to leave TEC. The Very Rev. Paul Fuener, a priest named in the affidavit, observed, “I am confident that his recollection of our interview is seriously in error, if not worse.”

In its official response to the motion, the diocese filed a document that stated, in part: “The allegations on any paper other than one filed in a court would be libelous. … In an era when the public believes the legal profession contributes very little to society’s well-being, the … motion serves only to support that belief.”

Following the judge’s decision, the diocese expressed gratitude:

“We are grateful that Judge Goodstein dismissed this most recent effort to harass our people with time-consuming, expensive litigation,” said Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese. “Attorneys for both TEC and TECSC have tried to distract attention from the denomination’s efforts to seize our property by suing our clergy and pursuing our lay leadership. The judge’s decision ends the legal fishing expedition and forces all to focus on the only issue that matters: whether our religious freedom is protected.”  the rest

Judge impedes Episcopalians' efforts to portray conspiracy to leave church and take assets

Monday, December 30, 2013

Russian suicide bombers; Children and Gratitude; Rose Parade to have live homosexual wedding....more

Can a Church Refuse to Sell Property Because of a Buyer’s Religion?
Here’s a bleg for you law and religion fans. Rod Dreher had an interesting post last week about the continuing division in the Episcopal Church over doctrinal issues. Several parishes, and even a few dioceses, if I’m not mistaken, have sought to leave the Episcopal Church because of the church’s liberal stand on issues like homosexuality. These parishes typically affiliate with Anglican bishops who remain committed to traditional doctrine.

Often, the departing congregations wish to maintain control of church property. Because of the way the relevant deeds and other legal documents are written, though, and because of the church autonomy principle, the congregations typically lose. Rod reports that the Episcopal Church has spent about $26 million litigating all the cases–an astounding figure, when you think about it.

All this is straightforward, legally speaking. But Rod’s post raises an issue I hadn’t thought about. When a departing parish in Binghamton, New York, sought to purchase its church building for $150,000, the Episcopal Church refused to sell. Apparently, the Church’s presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, has adopted a policy of refusing to sell church property to any group that intends to affiliate with an Anglican bishop. The Episcopal Church has sold off property to Baptists, Methodists, Jews, and Muslims, but not Anglicans. In the Binghamton case, the Church eventually sold the property to a mosque which paid only $50,000 for it–one-third what the departing congregation had offered to pay....
Dreher's article: Bishop Jefferts Schori’s Spite

Successive suicide bombings in Russia kill over 30
A suicide bomber killed 14 people aboard an electric bus in the southern Russian city of Volgograd during the Monday morning rush hour, and authorities believe it was the work of the same group that set off a bomb at the railway station a day earlier...

A&E Reverses, Welcomes Back Pro-Life Phil Robertson to Duck Dynasty

Live Same-Sex ‘Wedding’ to Be Part of New Year’s Tournament of Roses Parade  Two homosexual men are set to ‘wed’ on New Year’s Day during the historic Tournament of Roses parade, as they ride a float sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation...

Raising Children With an Attitude of Gratitude
...Giving thanks is no longer just holiday fare. A field of research on gratitude in kids is emerging, and early findings indicate parents' instincts to elevate the topic are spot-on. Concrete benefits come to kids who literally count their blessings.

Gratitude works like a muscle. Take time to recognize good fortune, and feelings of appreciation can increase. Even more, those who are less grateful gain the most from a concerted effort. "Gratitude treatments are most effective in those least grateful," says Eastern Washington University psychology professor Philip Watkins...WSJ