Not Our Problem
The Council did an interesting thing. It clarified a line of appeal that had not been identified before.
Here’s the deal. A West Ohio Committee on Investigation chose to strip out almost all of the allegations in the judicial complaint against a pastor on homosexuality-related charges.
The Discipline allows the church counsel in such a case to appeal to the jurisdiction’s committee on appeals if he/she feels the process contained egregious errors of law.
Upon that appeal, the jurisdiction’s committee ruled that the committee on investigation had done egregious things, remanded the case for rehearing, but then also “paused” any further judicial action until after GC2019.
That did not sit well with the church counsel, being anxious to prosecute this case so he appealed to the Judicial Council.
Note that this appeal is an interlocutory one, seeking judicial action out of the normal order. Normal order would have been committee on investigation-church trial-appeal to the jurisdiction-appeal to the Judicial Council.
The Council honored the interlocutory appeal to the jurisdiction after the committee on investigation and before trial just like they did in JCD 1361. In that case. they allowed an interlocutory appeal between the administrative review committee and the annual conference because that is what the Discipline says, not what conference officers wanted it to say..
And then the Council ruled on one more thing. The Discipline says nothing about such an interlocutory appeal going on to the Judicial Council. According to Par. 2715.10, appeals dealing with alleged egregious errors of law go only to the jurisdiction and no further, compared to other places where appeals are allowed to go to the Council (Pars. 2715.9 and 2718.3).
Oops! Those who put together all the legalistic anti-gay legislation missed one. (Update: They caught it and added the Council at GC2019. See JCD 1378, concurring opinion.)
And the Judicial Council “walked” without having to get involved. While it appears this Council tends to be conservative in its majority, it is still a “rule of law” body and is pretty “strictly by the book,” as it should be. No matter what ways we all wish the book were different and try to change it, at least the Council still goes by what’s there.