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DeCrescenzo Amicus Brief NCC

DeCrescenzo Amicus Brief NCC

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Published by Tony Ortega
The National Council of Churches submits an amicus brief supporting the Church of Scientology in its case with Laura DeCrescenzo
The National Council of Churches submits an amicus brief supporting the Church of Scientology in its case with Laura DeCrescenzo

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Categories:Business/Law
Published by: Tony Ortega on Aug 07, 2013
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06/16/2014

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1 of 4 DOCUMENTSView Original Source Image of This DocumentCHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL, Petitioner, vs. LAURA ANNDECRESCENZO, et al., Respondents.No. 12-1495SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
2012 U.S. Briefs 1495; 2013 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 3099
July 26, 2013On Petition For A Writ Of Certiorari To The Court Of Appeal Of California, SecondAppellate District.Amicus Brief 
[**1] [*1]
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE BRIEFThe amici curiae identified in the attached brief hereby respectfully move, pursuant to Rule 37.2 of the Rules of theSupreme Court of the United States, for leave to file the attached brief of amici curiae in support of the Petition for aWrit of Certiorari. Petitioner has consented to the filing of this brief. The amici curiae sought Respondent's consent, buthave received no answer as of the date below.Dated: July 26, 2013Respectfully submitted,BIRD, MARELLA, BOXER, WOLPERT,NESSIM, DROOKS & LINCENBERG, P.C.JEREMY D. MATZCounsel of RecordJESSICA KORNBERG1875 Century Park East, 23rd FloorLos Angeles, California 90067-2561Page 1
 
Email: jdm@birdmarella.comTelephone: (310) 201-2100Facsimile: (310) 201-2110
COUNSEL:
BIRD, MARELLA, BOXER, WOLPERT, NESSIM, DROOKS & LINCENBERG, P.C., JEREMY D.MATZ, Counsel of Record, JESSICA KORNBERG, Los Angeles, California.
[*i]INTERESTS: [*1] STATEMENT OF INTEREST
n1n1 Pursuant to Rule 37(6), counsel for
amici
certify that no counsel for a party authored this brief in wholeor in part, and no counsel or party made a monetary contribution intended to fund the preparation or submissionof this brief. No person other than
amici curiae
or their counsel made a monetary contribution to its preparationor submission. Consent to the filing of this brief was sought from the parties pursuant to Sup. Ct. Rule 37, butonly Petitioner consented. Counsel of record for all parties received notice, at least ten days prior to the due dateof this brief, of 
amici curiae's
intention to file this brief.
 Amici
are two membership organizations and two individuals. The Queens Federation of Churches is comprised of 390 Christian congregations in the borough of Queens, New York. The National Council of Churches of Christ iscomprised of more than 100,000 congregations nationwide, including some 45 million congregants. Brandon Marionand Craig Jensen have each been practicing members of the Church of Scientology for more than 30 years.
 Amici's
faiths in some ways have little in common with each other. But all
amici
agree that the California limitationon the penitent-clergy privilege, if upheld, will disrupt their ability to engage in their customary religious practices.Specifically, the membership organization
amici
include hundreds of congregations whose clergy regularly share witheach other the concerns and communications of their penitents --a common religious practice known as "clergyconsultation." The rationale of the California decision would destroy the confidentiality normally guaranteed to
[*2]
penitent-clergy communications whenever these congregations engage in such clergy consultations, therebydisadvantaging these congregations in comparison to those that do not regularly engage in clergy consultation.Similarly, the California decision topples the twin pillars of the individual
amici's
religious tradition, namely, theiraccess to confidential spiritual monitoring and the guarantee that such monitoring is perfectly consistent withChurch-wide methodology.For these reasons,
amici
support certiorari in this case because the decision of the California Superior Court isdeeply inconsistent with the core First Amendment principles of denominational neutrality and free religious exercise.
TITLE: MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE BRIEF AND AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF OF THE NATIONALCOUNCIL OF CHURCHES OF CHRIST, THE QUEENS FEDERATION OF CHURCHES, BRANDONMARION, AND CRAIG JENSEN, AMICI CURIAE, IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERSUMMARY OF ARGUMENT
The California Superior Court applied
Roman Catholic Archbishop of L.A. v. Superior Court 
,
32 Cal. Rptr. 3d 209(2005),
to limit the scope of the protection afforded by California's penitent-clergy privilege. Specifically, the SuperiorCourt -- believing itself bound by
Catholic Archbishop
-- held that the privilege does not exist if a confidentialpenitential communication is divulged to anyone else beyond the single clergy person who
[**4]
first receives it -- evenincluding other clergy in the same congregation or faith. In so holding, the Superior Court created a cleardenominational preference in favor of religions
[*3]
that do not engage in clergy consultation regarding penitentcommunications. This denominational preference violates long-established protections under both the Free Exercise andPage 22012 U.S. Briefs 1495, *1; 2013 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 3099, **1
 
Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment.
Everson v. Bd. of Educ. of Ewing Twp., 330 U.S. 1 (1947).
In holding that the privilege is limited to communications between only one penitent and one clergy person, theCalifornia decision excludes from protection a broad range of religious communications that are normally protected inother jurisdictions and that regularly occur in many religious traditions. The Church of Scientology is one suchtradition, and the impact of the California decision on the individual
amici
exemplifies the harm that the religion clauseswere designed to and should prevent. Absent the Court's intervention, the individual
amici
will no longer be able topractice the core activity of their faith, namely the auditing process, without the risk that their personal confessions
[**5]
to their ministers will be revealed to others without their consent. The result will be a devastating loss of theirreligious freedoms.While the individual
amici
represent the most immediate and obvious victims of the denominational preference, theimpact on the organizational
amici
demonstrates the astonishing scope of the Superior Court decision. Theorganizational
amici
have tens of thousands of constituent member congregations, which in turn have millions of individual members. Those member congregations and their individual
[*4]
members are also threatened by theadverse impact of the denominational preference because many of their members regularly engage in multiple-clergyconsultations. Many of the instances in which these clergy consultations occur concern penitents' most sensitive,delicate, and private matters, making the impact of the California decision on these Christian denominations particularlyharsh.
ARGUMENTI. CLERGY CONSULTATION IS A CORE RELIGIOUS PRACTICE OF MANY FAITHS THROUGHOUTTHE NATION.A. Clergy consultation is a common and important practice for many constituent members of theorganizational
amici.
[**6]
Clergy consultation refers to the practice of one member of a clergy consulting with another member of the clergyof the same congregation or denomination regarding a parishioner's concern or communication. For a clergyconsultation to be effective, the first clergy person often must, and will, disclose to the second clergy person thecontents of a communication made by a penitent. Clergy consultation varies in character depending on the congregationand denomination. In some faiths, the consultation may always be hierarchical -- that is, a more junior member of theclergy seeks guidance from a superior or more senior member of the clergy. In other practices, the
[*5]
consultationmay occur laterally with a peer clergy member. In some instances, particularly in smaller congregations, theconsultation may necessarily include a member of the clergy of the same faith but from a different congregation.As evidenced by myriad cases detailing such consultations, n2 it is well-accepted that clergy consultation is apractice common to many Christian faiths. Denominations in which clergy consultation is an occasional or frequentpractice include, but are not limited to, various Episcopal,
[**7]
Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Jehovah's Witnesses,Latter-Day Saints, and Assemblies of God churches. Both the National Council of Churches of Christ and the QueensFederation of Churches serve as umbrella organizations for large numbers of congregations of various denominations,including those who engage in clergy consultation.n2
See, e.g., State v. MacKinnon, 288 Mont. 329 (Mont. 1988); Reutkemeier v. Nolte, 161 N.W. 290 (Iowa1917); Scott v. Hammock, 133 F.R.D. 610 (D. Utah 1990); Doe v. Corporation of the President of the Church of  Latter-Day Saints, 90 P.3d 1147 (Wash. Ct. App. 2004).
The Queens Federation of Churches was founded in the borough of Queens, New York in 1931. Today thePage 32012 U.S. Briefs 1495, *3; 2013 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 3099, **4

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