Friday, July 17, 2020

NOTES --- 17 JULY 2020

Greetings blog reader. I have been away from my computer for a few days, so today it is catch-up time on several issues of interest and importance at the moment.


As expected, Judge Edgar Dickson denied the Diocese of South Carolina's request for a reconsideration, following Dickson's June 19 Order in which he ordered the reversal of the South Carolina Supreme Court's decision of Aug. 2, 2017. EDSC filed a motion for reconsideration on June 29. On July 13, 2020, Dickson issued an "Order" of a few sentences rejecting EDSC's Motion. 

Curious to note that Dickson's rejection came quickly, just two weeks after EDSC's filed its motion. Curious too that in the meantime apparently the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina's lawyers did not file a reply brief to EDSC's motion. Why they did not file and why Dickson responded so quickly and curtly leaves one wondering what is going on in the circuit court.

See the EDSC's news release of this here .

The EDSC lawyers immediately filed "Notice of Appeal" of Dickson's Order of June 19 with the South Carolina Court of Appeals. At the same time, they filed a request for a stay with Judge Dickson, "Defendants' Motion to Confirm Stay, or in the Alternative, for Supersedeas." However, the news release also indicated that the EDSC lead lawyer, Thomas Tisdale, believed the case may go straight to the state supreme court instead of stopping in the state appeals court. At any rate, the issue would be an appeal of Dickson's Order, not a re-litigation of the original case that is now closed.

We now have two diametrically opposed judicial opinions on the church case. The SC supreme court ruled that 28 parishes were property of the Episcopal Church and that Camp St. Christopher was owned by the Church diocese's trustees. On the other hand, Dickson ruled that the 28 parishes owned their own property, and not the Episcopal Church, while the Anglican diocese's trustees own the Camp, not the Episcopal diocese's trustees. Dickson's decision is now on appeal. 

Even though I am not a lawyer, I cannot see any scenario in which a state supreme court decision, that became final law, could be permanently overturned by a lower court. If the upper court(s) should uphold Dickson, it would upend the entire judicial system of the state. This would undermine the authority of the state supreme court and mean that every one of its decisions in the future would be subject to rejection and replacement by lower courts. The effect of such would be to make the high court irrelevant. Surely, the supreme court justices would not want to destroy the authority of their very own court. It is unimaginable. The justices must defend the established court system.


The coronavirus continues to run rampant in South Carolina, particularly in Charleston County. 

As for the state, when we last checked (July 13), it listed 56,648 reported cases. As of this morning (July 17), it listed 64,083 cases. In four days, cases increased by 7,435, +13%. In the last week, (Jl 10-17), cases increased by 13,392, +26%. At this rate, infections in South Carolina will double within a month. 

Death numbers in the state are also increasing quickly. The total now is 1,070. Yesterday (Jl 16) the state broke the record for the most deaths in one day, 72.

In the U.S., South Carolina is now one of the dozen states with the highest rates of increases in infection and death.

The White House coronavirus task force just today listed SC and AL as among the 11 states with the fastest increases in cases and recommended these states roll back their re-openings of public places. See an article about this here .

Charleston County continues to be the epicenter of the plague in SC. In the last week (Jl 10-17), reported infections in the county climbed from 6,699 to 8,677, an increase of 1,978, +30%. At this rate, the disease will double in the country within about the next three weeks. It is spreading faster in Charleston Co. than in the state as a whole. The death number in the county stands at 81.

Horry County is also rapidly developing as a center of the pandemic in the state. It is not far behind Charleston County.

With no national or local leadership to curb the spread of this pandemic, it will only worsen. We are still many months off before a vaccine appears. No doubt, we will see the worst of this pandemic in the fall of this year.


Jeff Sessions used to be an institution in Alabama. Today he is a ruined man, at least poltically speaking,  thanks to President Trump. 

Sessions became the most powerful politician in the state when he was overwhelmingly elected to the U.S. Senate in 1997. He became highly popular in the state. In his last election to the Senate he did not even have an opponent. In 2016, he was actively courted by candidate Donald Trump. Sessions became the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump. The two were especially compatible on opposition to immigration, particularly that from Mexico. As a reward for his support, Trump named Sessions Attorney General. So far, so good. Then, Sessions, a man of integrity, recused himself from the Mueller investigation. Trump exploded and began a relentless campaign to denigrate Sessions for his supposed disloyalty (in not squashing the investigation). It finally worked. Sessions was driven into total humiliation. In 2018, Trump demanded, and Sessions delivered, his resignation as AG. Sessions was replaced by a die-hard Trump loyalist, William Barr. Sessions returned to AL to run for his old seat in the Senate held by Democrat Doug Jones.

Even after Trump had driven Sessions from the office of AG, his vindictiveness continued unabated. He continued to denounce Session in scathing terms and actively campaigned against him eventually endorsing Tommy Tuberville, a man who had never held political office and whose only claim to fame was having coached the Auburn University football team for a few years. In the run-off election last Tuesday, Tuberville, with strong backing from Trump, won a landslide to became the Republican candidate to oppose Jones in November. Sessions' final destruction and humiliation was complete. Once the most powerful politician in the state, he had been ruined by his experience with Donald Trump.

There are two take-aways from this incident. One is that Trump remains highly popular in the lower south, especially in Alabama. He is certain to win a landslide in these states in the November general election. The other is that Trump will apparently destroy anyone whom he deems to be disloyal. Sessions had been one of Trump's earliest and strongest supporters. He is now politically dead.

Remember friend, we are here for the living of this hour, as tumultuous and frightening as it may be. Peace.