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The European Court of Justice and the Policy ProcessThe Shadow of Case Law$
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Susanne K. Schmidt

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717775

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198717775.001.0001

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The European Court of Justice as a Political Actor

The European Court of Justice as a Political Actor

Chapter:
(p.23) 2 The European Court of Justice as a Political Actor
Source:
The European Court of Justice and the Policy Process
Author(s):

Susanne K. Schmidt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198717775.003.0002

Chapter 2 summarizes research in political science on the ECJ as a political actor. Discussions about the Court have for a long time focused on the question of ‘judicial activism’ versus member-state control of the Court. The support of the EU’s legal community, the Commission, the litigation of private actors, and member-state courts has been important for the Court’s development of case law. It is argued that current analyses have overlooked the importance of ‘over-constitutionalization’, in light of the Treaty’s detailed policy aims. Case law shares the Treaty’s constitutional status. Its detailed policy prescriptions cannot be overruled. In addition, a Court that pays attention to member states’ preferences will have a significant impact on policy if its rulings establish policy requirements derived from the constitution.

Keywords:   ECJ, judicial activism, over-constitutionalization, member-state preferences, political science

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