SC Supreme Court rejects TEC petition seeking immediate control of parish property


Columbia, S.C. (July 1,  2019) – The South Carolina Supreme Court  announced today 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 July 1, 2019, ruling by the Supreme Court may also be found among the related court documents found there .