Texas Court's Mighty Labor Is in Vain

The Second District Court of Appeals in Fort Worth has labored long and hard over the appeal taken by the Episcopal Church (USA) and its local diocese and parishes from the July 24, 2015 summary judgment order granted against them by Judge Chupp of the 141st District Court of Tarrant County. In the nearly three years the appellate panel took to decide the case, one of its members died, but the other two soldiered on. Chief Justice Bonnie Sudderth authored the massive, 178-page opinion in the case; the remaining panel member, Associate Justice Gabriel, concurred without writing separately.(I shall refer to the case here as the "Salazar case" — using the name of its first-listed defendant — in order to distinguish it from the prior Episcopal Church case decided by the Texas Supreme Court in 2013.) As its length indicates, the Salazar opinion is thorough and careful — but alas, length is no guarantee that the Court got it right. Along about page…

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