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Justiciability

The Concept OF Justifiability in Various Aspects

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Justiciability

  1. 1. Justiciability on the other hand, limits the reach of judicial power. What is not justiciable is beyond the province of the courts. On the other hand, it enhances it, for whether or not an issue is justiciable or political is itself a justiciable question. Is the Supreme Court at liberty to decide which questions it would like to rule on, and those it would decline from passing upon? Is “justiciability” a matter of what the courts would like to deal with? The majority opinion in the Pineda and companion-cases penned by Madame Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales suggests an answer. The divide between questions the courts must pass upon and those it must keep off “lies in the answer to the question of whether there are constitutionally imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies. If there are, then our courts are duty-bound to examine whether the branch or instrumentality of the government properly acted within such limits.”
  2. 2. The Philippine Supreme Court dealt directly with the question of justifiability when a group of congressmen attempted, quite precipitously and insidiously, to unseat the Chief Justice through impeachment proceedings, after similar attempts at impeaching a considerable membership of the High Court failed. How far did the Court’s power reach? And if this was the issue, would not something be terribly amiss for the Court itself to resolve this issue with definitiveness? In his Separate Opinion, Mr. Justice Adolf Azcuna acutely remarked: “The function of the Court is a necessary element not only of the system of checks and balances, but also of a workable and living Constitution. For absent an agency organ that can rule, with finality, as to what the term of Constitution mean, there will be uncertainty if not chaos in the governance.” justifiability viability of legal system
  3. 3. This, for the Supreme Court today, is the expanse of its judicial power – the scope of its judicial power. But it should also be clear that for all its amplitude, judicial power recognizes its limits. Where there are no constitutional standards – as in purely policy matters – there is nothing to take judicial cognizance of. Where there are constitutional standards – then there is susceptibility to judicial scrutiny. In a sense then it is a political decision – understood as a decision made by the framers of the organic law – to render some matters justiciable, other than nonjusticiability. It is for the courts to determine whether, in any particular case, the issues fall on the side of justiciability or of non-justiciability.
  4. 4. “Justiciability” submits an issue to that kind of resolution mediated by the courts that apply laws. Of later there has been much whining about the technicalities in which courts, it is complained, allow themselves to be enmeshed. When an issue is within the province of the judicial power of State, it is dealt with and resolved by reference to the specific set of norms – or technical precepts – called laws. In this sense, “justiciability” is circumscribing and confining. A course of action constituted by the trial or judicial process, where the pronouncement of judgment constitutes the endpoint. Presence of institutional framework Ricoeur’s Four Conditions of Justiciability Intervention of qualified, competent, independent persons who are in charged of judging. The existence of written law
  5. 5. Philippine law does void contracts that run contrary to morals, it makes action contrary to morals ground for the award of damages and it holds civil servants liable for the conduct offensive to morality. The respondent was estranged from her husband and living with a married man, likewise estranged from his wife. She asked her church to pass judgment on their union, and the church gave its consent and approval based, apparently, on theological grounds. If she had asked her church to evaluate the morality of their union and had sought its guidance, and she had acted in accordance with her church’s prescriptions, was she liable for immorality as dealt by civil service law?
  6. 6. For the purposes the judgment in this case demonstrates judicial philosophizing particularly in penumbral cases. Lest it be thought that penumbral cases are the exception rather than the rule, it need only be remembered that such cases arise precisely because no legislator or legislature – though endowed perhaps with superior providence and foresight –can anticipate every possible case to which the law will apply. Administrative Code and civil service laws make immoral conduct actionable. There are religious, sectarian norms by which the respondent guided her actions, and there is the constitutional guarantee of the freedom of religion. The Court racalls that by appeal to what it characterizes as “utilitarian theory” and a protective theory in criminal law, what fall under the label “immoral” – and therefore defined as criminal – are actions “which are detrimental to those conditions upon which depend the existence and progress of human society.”
  7. 7. It is quite paradoxical that in order for the members of a society to exercise their freedoms, including their religious liberty, the law must set a limit when their exercise offends the higher interest of the State. To do otherwise is self-defeating for unlimited freedom would erode order in the state and foment anarchy, eventually destroying the very state its members established to protect their freedoms. The explanation of course is as convincingly only as the social contract theory it supposes , but makes for a compelling argument. The State exists to protect individual freedoms and liberties, and therefore the exercise of these freedoms and liberties must be such as to enable the State to continue in their defense and protection.

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