Springer v. Government of the Philippine Islands
277 U.S. 189 (1928)
Argued April 10, 1928; Decided May 14, 1928
MR. JUSTICE SUTHERLAND
delivered the opinion of the Court.
presenting substantially the same question, were argued and will be considered
and disposed of together. In each case, an action in the nature of quo
brought in the court below challenging the right to hold office of directors of
certain corporations organized under the legislative authority of the
U. S. 198] Islands; No. 564 involving directors of
the National Coal Company, and No. 573 involving directors of the Philippine
* * *
be stated then, as a general rule inherent in the American constitutional
system, that, unless otherwise expressly provided or incidental to the powers
conferred, the legislature cannot exercise either executive or judicial power;
the executive cannot exercise either legislative or [277 U. S. 202] judicial power; the judiciary cannot exercise either executive or
legislative power. The existence in the various Constitutions of occasional
provisions expressly giving to one of the departments powers which by their
nature otherwise would fall within the general scope of the authority of another
department emphasizes, rather than casts doubt upon, the generally inviolate
character of this basic rule.
as distinguished from executive power, is the authority to make laws, but not
to enforce them or appoint the agents charged with the duty of such
enforcement. The latter are executive functions. It is unnecessary to enlarge
further upon the general subject, since it has so recently received the full
consideration of this Court. Myers v. United States, 272 U. S. 52.
Not having the
power of appointment unless expressly granted or incidental to its powers, the
legislature cannot ingraft executive duties upon a
legislative office, since that would be to usurp the power of appointment by
indirection, though the case might be different if the additional duties were
devolved upon an appointee of the executive. Shoemaker v. United States, 147 U. S. 282, 147 U. S. 300-301.
Here, the members of the legislature who constitute a majority of the
"board" and "committee," respectively, are not charged with
the performance of any legislative functions or with the doing of anything
which is in aid of the performance of any such functions by the legislature.
Putting aside for the moment the question whether the duties devolved upon
these members are vested by the Organic Act in the Governor-General, it is
clear that they are not legislative in character, and still more
clear that they are not judicial. The fact that they do not fall within
the authority of either of these two constitutes logical ground for concluding
that they do fall within that of the remaining one of the three among [277 U. S. 203] which the powers of government are divided. Compare
Myers v. United States, supra, pp. 272 U. S. 117-118.
. . .