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Decision No. 94

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June 24 1953
In Re: Successor to Dr. Charles B. Ketcham as Member of the Judicial Council

Digest of Case

Dr. L. Dorsey Spaugy, being the first in order of election of the ministerial alternates to membership upon the Judicial Council, is the lawful successor of Dr. Chas. B. Ketcham, deceased.

Statement of Facts

On Thursday, April 2, 1953, Dr. Chas. B. Ketcham, member of the Judicial Council of The Methodist Church, departed this life. Immediately upon his death the necessity arose of calling from among the Ministerial Alternates to membership upon the Council, the successor to Dr. Ketcham. M. A. Childers, President of the Judicial Council, acting under the provisions of Art. #3 of Paragraph 901, of the 1952 ", providing that "Vacancies on the Judicial Council shall be filled by the Alternate or Alternates of the same class or respective classes in the order of their election as alternates," and the provisions of Paragraph 2115 of the " listing Dr. L. Dorsey Spaugy the first ministerial alternate "in order of election," determined that Dr. Spaugy was the lawful successor of Dr. Ketcham to membership upon the Judicial Council. This determination was questioned by the Secretary of the General Conference, whereupon the question was submitted by the President to all members of the Council by wire and all but one member of the Judicial Council sustained the determination that had been made by the President of the Council. JURISDICTION This being a matter of great importance it would seem that this question should be made the subject of a formal Declaratory Decision by the Judicial Council. Sub. 6, Paragraph 43 of the " reads as follows: "The Judicial Council shall have authority: "6. To provide its own methods of organization and procedure." The Judicial Council has broad powers, both under the Constitution and the acts of the General Conference to interpret the provisions of the ". It would seem that the above quoted provision of the Constitution would give to the Council implied authority, at least, to determine from the provisions of the " who shall fill vacancies in its membership occurring ad interim the sessions of the General Conference. This implied authority is emphasized in the provisions of Art. 3, Paragraph 901, directing that "it shall be the duty of the President and Secretary of the Council to notify the Alternate entitled to fill" a vacancy. If a question should be raised as to the proper one to call to fill such a vacancy, there is nobody except the Judicial Council authorized to determine such question. It is the Decision of the Judicial Council that the Council has jurisdiction to render a Decision on the question of who shall be called to membership upon the Judicial Council to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Dr. Chas. B. Ketcham. ANALYSIS Paragraph 901 of the " deals with membership upon the Judicial Council, including the election of members and of alternates. The second unnumbered Paragraph of Art. I of Par. 901, reads as follows: "Members of the Council shall be nominated and elected in the manner following: At each quadrennial session of the General Conference, the Council of Bishops shall nominate by majority vote four times the number of ministers and four times the number of laymen to be elected at such session of the General Conference. At the same daily session at which the above nominations are announced, nominations for each class may be made from the floor." The words "for each class" without question means the ministerial class and the lay class. Article 2 of Paragraph 901 reads in part as follows: "There shall be a like number of Alternates of each class, and their qualifications shall be the same as for membership on the Judicial Council. The term of the Alternates shall be for eight years." "The Alternates shall be elected in the manner following: From the nominees of each class remaining on the ballot after the election of the necessary number of members of the Judicial Council to be elected at sessions of the General Conference, the General Conference shall by separate ballot, without discussion and by majority vote, elect the number of Alternates of each class to be elected at such session of the General Conference. An election shall be held at each session of the General Conference for only the number of each class whose terms expire at such session of the General Conference or to fill vacancies." The term "each class" as used in this article could not be interpreted as meaning class of any particular year or years. In interpreting on that basis, all "whose terms expire at such session of the General Conference" would belong to the same class, and the term "each class" would have no meaning. It is clear that the term "each class," as used in Art. 2 of Paragraph 901 is to be construed as referring to ministerial and lay classes. It is equally clear that the same interpretation is to be given to the term "of the same class or respective classes," as used in Art. 3, Paragraph 901. This Paragraph reads in part as follows: "If a vacancy or vacancies in the membership of the Judicial Council occur during the interim between sessions of the General Conference, they shall be filled by the Alternate or Alternates of the same class or respective classes in the order of their election as Alternates."

Decision

It is the Decision of the Judicial Council that the expressions "of each class" or "respective classes" as used in the Articles of Paragraph 901 quoted above refer to Ministerial and Lay members or Ministerial Alternates or Lay Alternates, and not to the class or classes of any particular year or years; and that in case of vacancy in the Ministerial membership on the Judicial Council the Ministerial Alternate first in order of election is entitled to fill such vacancy and that in case of a vacancy in the Lay membership on the Judicial Council, the Lay Alternate first in order of election is entitled to fill such vacancy. It appearing from Paragraph 2115 of the "that Dr. L. Dorsey Spaugy was the first Ministerial Alternate "in order of election," it is clear that Dr. Spaugy was and is entitled to fill the vacancy on the Judicial Council caused by the death of Dr. Chas. B. Ketcham. Accordingly the calling by the President of the Council of Dr. Spaugy to membership upon the Judicial Council is in all things affirmed and approved.

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