Judicial restraint

The view that the Supreme Court (and other lesser courts) should not read the judges' own philosophies or policy preferences into the constitution and laws and should whenever reasonably possible construe the law so as to avoid second guessing the policy decisions made by other governmental institutions such as Congress, the President and state governments within their constitutional spheres of authority. On such a view, judges have no popular mandate to act as policy makers and should defer to the decisions of the elected "political" branches of the Federal government and of the states in matters of policy making so long as these policymakers stay within the limits of their powers as defined by the US Constitution and the constitutions of the several states.

[See also: judicial activism, judicial review]