Courts cannot judge wisdom of law

The Supreme Court cannot rule upon the wisdom of a law or to repeal or modify it if it finds it impractical. That is not its function. That function belongs to the legislature. The task of the Supreme Court is merely to interpret and apply the law as conceived and approved by the political departments of the government in accordance with prescribed procedure. (Tañada v. Tuvera G.R. No. 63915, Dec. 29, 1986)

In other words, when it comes to writing the law and to implementing it, the Supreme Court cannot question the President's or Congress' wisdom or practical reason behind the same. The only instance in which the Supreme Court can step in is when there is an actual controversy involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable and when the government or any of its instrumentalities abuses its direction amounting to jurisdiction errors.

Section 1 of Article VIII of the Constitution says: "Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government."

Recently, in Garcia v. Drilon, the Supreme Court has upheld the long-settled principle that courts do not go into the wisdom of the law. It is settled that courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy, or expediency of a statute. Hence, they dare not venture into the real motivations and wisdom of the members of Congress. Congress has made its choice and it is not the Judiciary's prerogative to supplant this judgment. The choice may be perceived as erroneous but, even then, the remedy against it is to seek its amendment or repeal by the legislative. By the principle of separation of powers, it is the legislative that determines the necessity, adequacy, wisdom and expediency of any law. (712 Phil. 44, 2013)

The Supreme Court will only step in when there is a violation of the Constitution. (712 Phil. 44, 2013)

As a component of the doctrine of separation of powers, courts must never go into the question of the wisdom of the policy of the law. In Magtajas v. Pryce Properties Corporation, Inc., where the High Court resolved the issue of the morality of gambling, it was held that the morality of gambling is not a justiciable issue. Gambling is not illegal per se. (G.R. No. 210500, April 2, 2019)

While gambling is generally considered inimical to the interests of the people, there is nothing in the Constitution categorically proscribing or penalizing gambling or, for that matter, even mentioning it at all. It is left to Congress to deal with the activity as it sees fit. In the exercise of its own discretion, the legislature may prohibit gambling altogether or allow it without limitation or it may prohibit some forms of gambling and allow others for whatever reasons it may consider sufficient. Thus, it has prohibited jueteng and monte but permits lotteries, cockfighting and horse-racing. (G.R. No. 210500, April 2, 2019)

In making such choices, Congress has consulted its own wisdom, which the Court has no authority to review, much less reverse. Well has it been said that courts do not sit to resolve the merits of conflicting theories. That is the prerogative of the political departments. It is settled that questions regarding the wisdom, morality, or practicibility of statutes are not addressed to the judiciary but may be resolved only by the legislative and executive departments, to which the function belongs in our scheme of government. That function is exclusive. Whichever way these branches decide, they are answerable only to their own conscience and to their constituents who will ultimately judge their acts [through the ballots], and not in the courts of justice. (KMU v. Aquino, G.R. No. 210500, April 2, 2019)

The above rule prevents what is called "judicial activitism." Judicial activism is a judicial philosophy that the courts can and should go beyond the words of the constitution or a statute to consider broader societal implications of its decisions. It is sometimes used as an antonym of judicial restraint. It is usually a pejorative term, implying that judges make rulings based on their own political agenda rather than precedent and take advantage of judicial discretion. The definition of judicial activism and the specific decisions that are activist are controversial political issues. The question of judicial activism is closely related to constitutional interpretation, statutory construction, and separation of powers. (Judicial activism. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.