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Decision No. 23

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May 01 1944
In Re: General Pension Regulations

Digest of Case

The provisions of the Discipline as to Declaratory Decisions by the Judicial Council do not confer upon the Council any legislative power, and whenever there is doubt as to the meaning of any General Conference legislation, it is the duty of the General Conference itself to clarify its own enactment.

Statement of Facts

REQUEST FOR DECLARATORY DECISION At the session of the General Conference on May 4, 1944, the following was adopted: "Whereas, This General Conference has adopted the Pension Code, Paragraph 1318, Section 2, Subdivision (d) of which provides that years served as a member of an Annual Conference left without appointment to attend school for a period not to exceed three Conference years may be counted for annuity claim, "Whereas, The Western North Carolina Conference, in common with other Annual Conferences in the Territory of the Missouri Corporation, has in its membership many Conference Claimants to whom such a provision has not been hitherto applicable. "Therefore, Be It Resolved, That the General Conference ask the Judicial Council to render a Declaratory Decision as to whether or not the aforementioned enactment is retroactive within the Territory of the Missouri Corporation, in order that the claims of these Conference Claimants may be accurately determined."


The Judicial Council is ready at all times to render such service to the General Conference as it may within the limits of the jurisdiction conferred upon it, but we do not believe that the enactment of the legislation in regard to Declaratory Decisions was intended to put into our hands any legislative authority but that, contra, the General Conference itself, outside of matters involving constitutional questions, is the sole judge and interpreter of the meaning of any legislation passed, so long as the Conference enacting such laws is in session. While the General Conference is in session it would appear that if there is any lack of clarity in legislation it should be clarified by the General Conference and not be left to Judicial determination. We therefore respectfully return this request with the suggestion that the General Conference itself clarify the enactment at issue.

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