Virginia court schedules arguments

A press release from the Diocese of Virginia:

March 3, 2010

Virginia Supreme Court to Hear Episcopal Diocese of Virginia Appeal the Week of April 12, 2010

The Supreme Court of Virginia has notified the Diocese it intends to hear arguments during the week of April 12-16, 2010 in the case The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia v. Truro Church, et al.

The Diocese is challenging the constitutionality of Virginia’s one-of-a-kind division statute (Va. Code § 57-9(A)) and the rulings of the Circuit Court, which allowed former Episcopalians to claim Episcopal Church property as their own.

“We welcome this news and the opportunity to appear before the Court a little more than a month from now,” said Henry D.W. Burt, Secretary of the Diocese. “We believe this law is clearly unconstitutional and there is too much at stake – for all churches in Virginia – to let it remain in effect. 15 other churches, dioceses, judicatories and national denominations, both hierarchical and congregational in structure, have submitted briefs as amici curiae, or ‘friends of the Court,’ in support of the Diocese’s position on the need to strike down the Division Statute. We are deeply grateful for their support.”

Mr. Burt noted further, “For more than 200 years, the Episcopal Church has had the freedom to govern itself without government interference. We look to the Court to protect the religious freedoms upon which this Commonwealth and our nation were founded.”

For more information on the case, including the Supreme Court filings, please visit


The Supreme Court typically renders opinions in June on cases where it has heard arguments in April.

See also The Lead’s report this morning on the written briefs submitted to the court.

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