Monday, April 07, 2008

Review: § 57-9

From here. This is the statute that the Virginia churches overwhelming satisfied, as found in the ruling of the Fairfax Circuit Court. The court has all ready received counsel briefs on the constitutional issues and the judge has requested briefs there are any other constitutional issues. In addition, the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia will now enter the case and will defend the constitutionality of the Virginia law.

§ 57-9. How property rights determined on division of church or society.

A. If a division has heretofore occurred or shall hereafter occur in a church or religious society, to which any such congregation whose property is held by trustees is attached, the members of such congregation over 18 years of age may, by a vote of a majority of the whole number, determine to which branch of the church or society such congregation shall thereafter belong. Such determination shall be reported to the circuit court of the county or city, wherein the property held in trust for such congregation or the greater part thereof is; and if the determination be approved by the court, it shall be so entered in the court's civil order book, and shall be conclusive as to the title to and control of any property held in trust for such congregation, and be respected and enforced accordingly in all of the courts of the Commonwealth.


Rolin said...

Comments have been made elsewhere to the effect that "It's over. 57-9 is 'conclusive' and ADV has won." Reading the statute above, the only thing that is 'conclusive' is the determination approved by the court that the requisite majority votes have been taken. So far, this is not 'game over', but it definitely does not look good for TEC.
Br_er Rabbit

Anonymous said...

Unknown said...

Actually it is "conclusive" since the requisite majority votes were filed in December 2006 with the court and the AG of the State of Virginia has stated that the votes were in accordance with the statute.

Even TEC understands it that way, which is why they are proceeding to a constitutional challenge strategy.

Rolin said...

Not to belabor the point, Warren, but in the language of the statute, the results are only conclusive "if the determination be approved by the court." But I did not know that the AG had already entered an opinion as to the validity of the votes. The judge can hardly rule otherwise. David Booth Beers and Company must be staring some very dark days right in the face.
Br_er Rabbit