Decision Number 396
Petition of the Southern Illinois Annual Conference Requesting a Declaratory Decision as to the Constitutionality of a Deleted Section of Proposals Implementing Amendment IX of the Constitution.
The Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction regarding moot issues.
Statement of Facts
The Southern Illinois Annual Conference in its 1974 annual session was considering the problem of how best to select the additional lay members necessary for it to be in conformance with the requirements of Amendment IX of the Constitution. At one point in the consideration legislation was proposed which would have named a particular group of persons (a portion of the Conference Council on Ministries) as lay members. This legislative proposal was defeated. Following the defeat of the proposed legislation the conference then voted to ask the Judicial Council for a ruling as to whether such deleted legislation would be constitutional.
Paragraph 1515 of the Discipline authorizes an Annual Conference to petition the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision "as to the constitutionality, meaning, application or effect of the Discipline or any portion thereof, or of any act or legislation of a General Conference; ... on matters relating to Annual Conferences or the work therein."
Constitutional Amendment IX is certainly a part of the Discipline related to Annual Conferences and the work therein. The Southern Illinois Annual Conference would certainly have the right to petition the Judicial Council for a ruling concerning its "meaning, application or effect" in relation to an Annual Conference formula for implementing the Amendment.
Reluctantly, however, the Judicial Council concludes that it must decline jurisdiction in this petition. On the record of the Southern Illinois Annual Conference, the section of the proposals for the implementation of Amendment IX, which was referred to the Judicial Council, had already been deleted by action of the Annual Conference, thus making the constitutionality of the referred section a moot question. We reach this conclusion without prejudice to the right of the Southern Illinois Annual Conference to further petition the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision on this and other questions related to the meaning, application or effect of Amendment IX.