Yesterday, the Judicial Council ruled on two questions of law raised at the 2018 Annual Conference Session held in May. The Judicial Council affirmed Bishop Schol’s ruling that a question about group charge conferences was moot and hypothetical, and in another unrelated matter, the Judicial Council ruled that the Conference Board of Trustees may not file a lawsuit on behalf of the annual conference except in matters related to property.
The first question of law was raised by Creed Pogue who questioned if district superintendents had the authority to set the location of group charge conferences. The Judicial Council affirmed Bishop John Schol’s ruling that Pogue’s question was moot and hypothetical because it did not pertain to any part of the annual conference session, which is necessary for the bishop to make a ruling.
Bishop Schol also said if the Judicial Council did not find the matter moot and hypothetical, then superintendents may set the time and location of group charge conferences. The Judicial Council said this ruling is not in affect because the entire question is moot and hypothetical.
The second question of law was raised by Gyuchang Sim concerning Greater New Jersey joining a lawsuit with the NAACP and two statewide Latino organizations against the State of New Jersey to eliminate segregation in the state. More than 300,000 Black and Latino students in New Jersey attend segregated public schools. The lawsuit was filed by the GNJ Board of Trustees with the support of 12 GNJ agencies on the anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education as a symbol that while the US Supreme Court outlawed school segregation in the 1950s, more than half of New Jersey Black and Latino students attend segregated schools. The Annual Conference Session met two business days after the filing and affirmed the action by the Board of Trustees by voting to be part of the lawsuit. The Judicial Council said that the board of trustees does not have the authority to file a lawsuit on behalf of the annual conference except in matters of church property, but affirmed GNJ’s participation in the lawsuit because the Annual Conference voted to affirm the action.
This ruling does not change GNJ’s participation in the lawsuit to end school segregation because the Annual Conference voted to be a part of this historic case.
“I am proud of the action of the Board of Trustees and the 12 agencies that supported the Board of Trustees in this action,” said Bishop Schol. “The Board of Trustees took a risk and acted because justice for Black and Latino students is paramount. I am also proud of the Annual Conference who stood behind the Board of Trustees and supported their action.”
The suit has already caused action on the part of the New Jersey government. Governor Phil Murphy has ordered his attorney general and staff to work with GNJ and the other organizations who brought the lawsuit to try to resolve the suit so that Black and Latino students are not attending segregated schools.