Political law, defined

Political law is that branch of public law which deals with the organization, and operations of the governmental organs of the State and defines the relations of the State with the inhabitants of its territory. Political law (or political activity law) is an established legal practice area encompassing the intersection of politics and law. Political law comprises election law, voting rights law, campaign finance law, laws governing lobbying and lobbyists, open government laws, legislative and executive branch ethics codes, legislative procedure, administrative procedure, constitutional law, and legislative and regulatory drafting. Political laws are applied primarily to government officials, candidates, advocacy groups, lobbyists, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and trade unions.

SOURCES: Nachura (2014). Outline Reviewer in Political Law. Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura. VJ Graphic Arts, Inc. www.facebook.com/vjgraphics/photos/a.662013483918998/858385384281806

Political law. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_law, citing "Caplin & Drysdale's political activity law page". Capdale.com

CASE #1. PEOPLE V. PERFECTO. 43 PHIL. 887. G.R. NO. L-18463. OCTOBER 4, 1922: It cannot admit of doubt that all those provisions of the Spanish Penal Code having to do with such subjects as treason, lese majeste, religion and worship, rebellion, sedition, and contempts of ministers of the crown, are not longer in force. Our present task, therefore, is a determination of whether article 256 has met the same fate, or, more specifically stated, whether it is in the nature of a municipal law or political law, and is consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and the characteristics and institutions of the American Government.

It is a general principle of the public law that on acquisition of territory the previous political relations of the ceded region are totally abrogated. "Political" is here used to denominate the laws regulating the relations sustained by the inhabitants to the sovereign. (American Insurance Co. vs. Canter [1828], 1 Pet., 511; Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Co. vs. McGlinn [1885], 114 U.S., 542; Roa vs. Collector of Customs [1912], 23 Phil., 315.) Mr. Justice Field of the United States Supreme Court stated the obvious when in the course of his opinion in the case of Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Co. vs. McGlinn, supra, he said: "As a matter of course, all laws, ordinances and regulations in conflict with the political character, institutions and Constitution of the new government are at once displaced. Thus, upon a cession of political jurisdiction and legislative power — and the latter is involved in the former — to the United States, the laws of the country in support of an established religion or abridging the freedom of the press, or authorizing cruel and unusual punishments, and he like, would at once cease to be of obligatory force without any declaration to that effect." To quote again from the United States Supreme Court: "It cannot be admitted that the King of Spain could, by treaty or otherwise, impart to the United States any of his royal prerogatives; and much less can it be admitted that they have capacity to receive or power to exercise them. Every nation acquiring territory, by treaty or otherwise, must hold it subject to the Constitution and laws of its own government, and not according to those of the government ceding it." (Pollard vs. Hagan [1845], 3 Hos., 210.)

On American occupation of the Philippines, by instructions of the President to the Military Commander dated May 28, 1898, and by proclamation of the latter, the municipal laws of the conquered territory affecting private rights of person and property and providing for the punishment of crime were nominally continued in force in so far as they were compatible with the new order of things. But President McKinley, in his instructions to General Merritt, was careful to say: "The first effect of the military occupation of the enemy's territory is the severance of the former political relation of the inhabitants and the establishment of a new political power." From that day to this, the ordinarily it has been taken for granted that the provisions under consideration were still effective. To paraphrase the language of the United States Supreme Court in Weems vs. United States ([1910], 217 U. S., 349), there was not and could not be, except as precise questions were presented, a careful consideration of the codal provisions and a determination of the extent to which they accorded with or were repugnant to the "'great principles of liberty and law' which had been 'made the basis of our governmental system.' " But when the question has been squarely raised, the appellate court has been forced on occasion to hold certain portions of the Spanish codes repugnant t democratic institutions and American constitutional principles. (U.S. vs. Sweet [1901], 1 Phil., 18; U.S. vs. Balcorta [1913], 25 Phil., 273; U.S. vs. Balcorta [1913], 25 Phil., 533; Weems vs. U.S., supra.)
CASE #2. MACARIOLA V. ASUNCION. 114 SCRA 77. A.M. NO. 133-J. MAY 31, 1982: It is Our considered view that although the aforestated provision is incorporated in the Code of Commerce which is part of the commercial laws of the Philippines, it, however, partakes of the nature of a political law as it regulates the relationship between the government and certain public officers and employees, like justices and judges.

Political Law has been defined as that branch of public law which deals with the organization and operation of the governmental organs of the State and define the relations of the state with the inhabitants of its territory (People vs. Perfecto, 43 Phil. 887, 897 [1922]). It may be recalled that political law embraces constitutional law, law of public corporations, administrative law including the law on public officers and elections. Specifically, Article 14 of the Code of Commerce partakes more of the nature of an administrative law because it regulates the conduct of certain public officers and employees with respect to engaging in business: hence, political in essence.

It is significant to note that the present Code of Commerce is the Spanish Code of Commerce of 1885, with some modifications made by the "Commission de Codificacion de las Provincias de Ultramar," which was extended to the Philippines by the Royal Decree of August 6, 1888, and took effect as law in this jurisdiction on December 1, 1888.

Upon the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to the United States and later on from the United States to the Republic of the Philippines, Article 14 of this Code of Commerce must be deemed to have been abrogated because where there is change of sovereignty, the political laws of the former sovereign, whether compatible or not with those of the new sovereign, are automatically abrogated, unless they are expressly re-enacted by affirmative act of the new sovereign.

Thus, We held in Roa vs. Collector of Customs (23 Phil. 315, 330, 311 [1912]) that:

By well-settled public law, upon the cession of territory by one nation to another, either following a conquest or otherwise, ... those laws which are political in their nature and pertain to the prerogatives of the former government immediately cease upon the transfer of sovereignty. (Opinion, Atty. Gen., July 10, 1899).

While municipal laws of the newly acquired territory not in conflict with the, laws of the new sovereign continue in force without the express assent or affirmative act of the conqueror, the political laws do not. (Halleck's Int. Law, chap. 34, par. 14). However, such political laws of the prior sovereignty as are not in conflict with the constitution or institutions of the new sovereign, may be continued in force if the conqueror shall so declare by affirmative act of the commander-in-chief during the war, or by Congress in time of peace. (Ely's Administrator vs. United States, 171 U.S. 220, 43 L. Ed. 142). In the case of American and Ocean Ins. Cos. vs. 356 Bales of Cotton (1 Pet. [26 U.S.] 511, 542, 7 L. Ed. 242), Chief Justice Marshall said:

On such transfer (by cession) of territory, it has never been held that the relations of the inhabitants with each other undergo any change. Their relations with their former sovereign are dissolved, and new relations are created between them and the government which has acquired their territory. The same act which transfers their country, transfers the allegiance of those who remain in it; and the law which may be denominated political, is necessarily changed, although that which regulates the intercourse and general conduct of individuals, remains in force, until altered by the newly- created power of the State.

Likewise, in People vs. Perfecto (43 Phil. 887, 897 [1922]), this Court stated that: "It is a general principle of the public law that on acquisition of territory the previous political relations of the ceded region are totally abrogated."