Judicial Council Decisions

Memorandum No. 1205

In Re: REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF MEMORANDA 1176, 1184, AND 1192.

Monday, April 23, 2012.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

In Memorandum 1176, we reviewed the action of the 2010 session of the California-Nevada Annual Conference that discontinued the Hamilton United Methodist Church pursuant to the provisions of ¶ 2548.2. During the business of the conference session, a member of the Annual Conference presented a request to the presiding bishop that the item be ruled out of order. The bishop made a parliamentary ruling that the item was in order and properly before the Annual Conference. The bishop went further and issued a decision of law reiterating that the item was properly before the Annual Conference. We previously determined that we had no jurisdiction to review a parliamentary ruling of a presiding bishop and that the matter had been rendered moot by action of the Annual Conference. See Memorandum 1176. Requests for reconsideration have been presented on two previous occasions, both of which were disposed of by summary denial of reconsideration. See Memoranda 1184 and 1192.

Under ¶ 2609 of the Discipline, the Judicial Council has jurisdiction to pass upon and affirm, modify, or reverse decisions of law made by bishops in central, district, annual, or jurisdictional conferences upon questions of law submitted to them in the regular business of a session. There is no need for any party or non-party to “appeal” a bishop’s decision of law because we review and pass upon bishops’ decisions of law as a matter of course. The caveat to such review is that it must be an actual bishop’s decision of law. In that regard, the questioner must pose a question that asks the presiding bishop to make a ruling of law, not merely one of procedure or of parliamentary order.
The original record demonstrates that the bishop was asked a clear and unequivocal question as to whether the item was properly before the Annual Conference. Questions of whether an item is properly before an annual conference are parliamentary in nature. There was no substantive question of law presented to the presiding bishop but rather a parliamentary inquiry. The Judicial Council has consistently held that it has no jurisdiction to review a parliamentary ruling made by a presiding bishop in an annual conference. See Memoranda 898 and 941. Upon a thorough review of the record presented and of the material presented outside the record since Memorandum 1176 was first considered, we find no compelling reason to disturb our earlier determination. The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction to review a parliamentary ruling made by a presiding bishop in an annual conference. In addition, the matter had been rendered moot by action of the Annual Conference.

DIGEST

The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction to review a parliamentary ruling made by a presiding bishop in an annual conference. In addition, the matter had been rendered moot by action of the Annual Conference. The request for reconsideration of Memoranda 1176, 1184, and 1192 is hereby denied.

April 23, 2012


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