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Decision No. 627

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October 26 1989
In Re: Request of an Annual Conference for a Declaratory Decision as to the Constitutionality of the Filling of a Vacancy on the Judicial Council.

Digest of Case

The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction. The Kansas West and Kansas East Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church petitioned the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision (pursuant to 2615 of the 1988 Discipline) as to whether the method used to fill a vacancy in the Judicial Council caused by the election of a member of the Judicial Council to the episcopacy was constitutional. Par. 2615 requires that in order for the Judicial Council to have jurisdiction to render a declaratory decision the issue before it must concern both (1) "the constitutionality, meaning, application or effect of the Discipline or any portion thereof" 1988 Discipline  2615.1) and (2) "matters relating to Annual Conferences or the work therein" (1988 Discipline 2615.2). While the petition raises the issues required by  2615.1, this is not a matter "relating to Annual Conferences or the work therein." An open hearing was held in Williamsburg, Virginia on October 26, 1989. Steven P. Childs of the Kansas West Conference had requested an opportunity to be heard but did not appear. John G. Corry recused himself and did not participate in any of the proceedings that involved this petition. The Judicial Council has no jurisdiction to hear the petition.

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