11. churchill v. rafferty

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  • FRANCIS A. CHURCHILL, ET AL. vs. JAMES J. RAFFERTY

    EN BANC[G.R. No. 10572. December 21, 1915.]

    FRANCIS A. CHURCHILL and STEWART TAIT , plaintis-appellees,vs. JAMES J. RAFFERTY, Collector of Internal Revenue ,defendant-appellant.

    Attorney-General Avancena for appellant.Aitken & DeSelms for appellees.

    SYLLABUS

    1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SCOPE OF INQUIRY IN TESTING VALIDITY OFA LAW. Unless a law be so repugnant to the supreme law that it appearsclearly that constitutional limitations have been overstepped by the legislature,courts should not declare a legislative enactment invalid. Merely to doubt itsvalidity is to resolve the doubt in favor of its validity.

    2. ID.; INTERNAL REVENUE; INJUNCTION TO RESTRAIN COLLECTION OFA TAX. A provision in an internal revenue law prohibiting the courts fromenjoining the collection of an internal revenue tax is not invalid as opposed to the"due process" and "equal protection of the law" clauses of the bill of rights of theOrganic Act. Such legislation, both Federal and State, has been upheld by theUnited States Supreme Court.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; JURISDICTION OF COURTS. Nor is such a provision oflaw invalid as curtailing the jurisdiction of the courts of the Philippine Islands asxed by section 9 of the Organic Act: (a) because jurisdiction was never conferredupon Philippine courts to enjoin the collection of taxes imposed by the PhilippineCommission; and (b) because, in the present case, another adequate remedy hasbeen provided by payment and protest.

    4. ID.; POLICE POWER; NATURE AND SCOPE IN GENERAL. If a lawrelates to the public health, safety, morals, comfort, or general welfare of thecommunity, it is within the scope of the police power of the State. Within suchbounds the wisdom, expediency, or necessity of the law does not concern thecourts.

    5. ID.; ID.; NOT LIMITED TO ANY PARTICULAR SUBJECT. Fromwhatever direction the social, economic, or general welfare of the people ismenaced, there is legal justication for the exercise of the police power; and theuse of private property may be regulated or restricted to whatever extent may benecessary to preserve inviolate these declared essentials to the well being of thepublic.

  • 6. ID.; ID.; THINGS OFFENSIVE TO THE SENSES OF SMELL ORHEARING. It has long been recognized that uses of private property which areoensive to the senses of smell of hearing may be so regulated or segregated asto disturb as little as possible the pursuits of other persons.

    7. ID., ID.; SIGHT. It is not the adoption of a new principle but simplythe extension of a well established principle to hold that the police power mayalso regulate and restrict uses of private property when devoted to advertisingwhich is offensive to the sight.

    8 . ID.; ID.; ID.; BILLBOARDS. The indiscriminate use of outdooradvertising tends to mar not only natural outdoor landscapes but whatever ofcivic beauty has been attained by the expenditure of public moneys for parks,boulevards, and buildings. The widespread agitation in many European countries,as well as in the United States, against the so-called billboards the mostcommon form of this kind of advertising shows that they are a source ofannoyance and irritation to the public and interfere with the proper enjoyment ofoutdoor life by the general public. This justies their suppression or regulation tothe extent that they interfere with the right of the public.

    D E C I S I O N

    TRENT, J p:The judgment appealed from in this case perpetually restrains and prohibits

    the defendant and his deputies from collecting and enforcing against theplaintis and their property the annual tax mentioned and described insubsection (b) of section 100 of Act No. 2339, eective July 1, 19]4, and fromdestroying or removing any sign, signboard, or billboard, the property of theplaintis, for the sole reason that such sign, signboard, or billboard is, or may beoensive to the sight; and decrees the cancellation of the bond given by theplaintis to secure the issuance of the preliminary injunction granted soon afterthe commencement of this action.

    This case divides itself into two parts and gives rise to two main questions;(1) that relating to the power of the court to restrain by injunction the collectionof the tax complained of, and (2) that relating to the validity of those provisionsof subsection (b) of section 100 of Act No. 2339, conferring power upon theCollector of Internal Revenue to remove any sign, signboard, or billboard uponthe ground that the same is offensive to the sight or is otherwise nuisance.

    The rst question is one of jurisdiction and is of vital importance to theGovernment. The sections of Act No. 2339, which bear directly upon the subject,are 139 and 140. The rst expressly forbids the use of an injunction to stay thecollection of any internal revenue tax; the second provides a remedy for anywrong in connection with such taxes, and this remedy was intended to beexclusive, thereby precluding the remedy by injunction, which remedy is claimedto be constitutional. The two sections, then, involve the right of a dissatised

  • taxpayer to use an exceptional remedy to test the validity of any tax or todetermine any other question connected therewith, and the question whetherthe remedy by injunction is exceptional.

    Preventive remedies of the courts are extraordinary and are not the usualremedies. The origin and history of the writ of injunction show that it has alwaysbeen regarded as an extraordinary, preventive remedy, as distinguished from thecommon course of the law to redress evils after they have been consummated.No injunction issues as of course, but is granted only upon the oath of a party andwhen there is no adequate remedy at law. The Government does, by sections139 and 140, take away the preventive remedy of injunction, if it ever existed,and leaves the taxpayer, in a contest with it, to the same ordinary remedialactions which prevail between citizen and citizen. The Attorney-General, onbehalf of the defendant, contends that there is no provisions of the paramountlaw which prohibits such a course. While, on the other hand, counsel for plaintisurge that the two sections are unconstitutional because (a) they attempt todeprive aggrieved taxpayers of all substantial remedy for the protection of theirproperty, thereby, in eect, depriving them of their property without due processof law; and (b) they attempt to diminish the jurisdiction of the courts, asconferred upon them by Acts Nos. 136 and 190, which jurisdiction was ratiedand confirmed by the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902.

    In the rst place, it has been suggested that section 139 does not apply tothe tax in question because the section, in speaking of a "tax," means only legaltaxes; and that an illegal tax (the one complained of) is not a tax, and, therefore,does not fall within the inhibition of the section, and may be restrained byinjunction. There is no force in this suggestion. The inhibition applies to allinternal revenue taxes imposed, or authorized to be imposed, by Act No. 2339.(Snyder vs. Marks, 109 U. S., 189.) And, furthermore, the mere fact that a tax isillegal, or that the law, by virtue of which it is imposed, is unconstitutional, doesnot authorize a court of equity to restrain its collection by injunction. There mustbe a further showing that there are special circumstances which bring the caseunder some well recognized head of equity jurisprudence, such as thatirreparable injury, multiplicity of suits, or a cloud upon title to real estate willresult, and also that there is, as we have indicated, no adequate remedy at law.This is the settled law in the United States, even in the absence of statutoryenactments such as sections 139 and 140. (Hannewinkle vs. Mayor, etc., ofGeorgetown, 82 U. S., 547; Indiana Mfg. Co. vs. Koehne 188 U. S., 681; Ohio TaxCases, 232 U. S., 576, 587; Pittsburgh C. C. & St. L. R. Co. vs. Board of PublicWorks, 172 U. S., 32; Shelton vs. Platt, 139 U. S., 591; State Railroad Tax Cases,92 U. S., 575.) Therefore, this branch of the case must be controlled by sections139 and 140, unless the same be held unconstitutional, and consequently, nulland void.

    "The right and power of judicial tribunals to declare whetherenactments of the legislature exceed the constitutional limitations and areinvalid has always been considered a grave responsibility, as well as asolemn duty. The courts invariably give the most careful consideration toquestions involving the interpretation and application of the Constitution, andapproach constitutional questions with great deliberation, exercising their

  • power in this respect with the greatest possible caution and even reluctance;and they should never declare a statute void, unless its invalidity is, in theirjudgment, beyond reasonable doubt. To justify a court in pronouncing alegislative act unconstitutional, or a provision of a state constitution to be incontravention of the Constitution of the United States, the case must be soclear as to be free from doubt, and the conict of the statute with theconstitution must be irreconcilable, because it is but a decent respect to thewisdom, the integrity, and the patriotism of the legislative body by which anylaw is passed to presume in favor of its validity until the contrary is shownbeyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, in no doubtful case will the judiciarypronounce a legislative act to be contrary to the constitution. To doubt theconstitutionality of a law is to resolve the doubt in favor of its validity." (6Ruling Case Law, secs. 71, 72, and 73, and cases cited therein.)It is also the settled law in the United States that "due process of law" does

    not always require, in respect to the Government, the same process that isrequired between citizens, though it generally implies and includes regularallegations, o