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The European Court of Justice and the Policy Process: The Shadow of Case Law

Susanne K. Schmidt

ISBN 10: 0198717776 / ISBN 13: 9780198717775
Published by Oxford University Press
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Title: The European Court of Justice and the Policy...

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title


The European Court of Justice is one of the most important actors in the process of European integration. Political science still struggles to understand its significance, with recent scholarship emphasizing how closely rulings reflect member states' preferences. This book argues that the implications of the supremacy and direct effect of the EU Treaty have still been overlooked. As it constitutionalizes an intergovernmental treaty, the European Union has a detailed set of policies inscribed into its constitution that are extensively shaped by the Court's case law. If rulings have constitutional status, their impact will be considerable, even if the Court only occasionally diverts from member states' preferences.

By focusing on the four freedoms of goods, services, persons, and capital, as well as citizenship rights, the book analyses how the Court's development of case law has ascribed a broad meaning to these freedoms. The constitutional status of this case law constrains policymaking at the European and member-state levels. Different case studies show how major pieces of EU legislation partly codify case law. Judicialization is important in the EU. It also directly constrains member-state policies. Court rulings oriented towards individual disputes are difficult to translate into general policies-but if they have constitutional status they have to go through this process. Policy options are thereby withdrawn from majoritarian decision-making. As the Court cannot be overruled, short of a Treaty change, its case law casts a long shadow over policymaking in the European Union, undermining the legitimacy of this political order.


Considered in its entirety, Schmidt's book is an ambitious effort to redirect the debate on European legal integration, whose title ideally would have broadcast the perils of over-constitutionalization. It is an outstanding contribution that demands the attention of scholars and practitioners alike. (Public Adminstration)

Finally, Susanne Schmidt's opus magnum! Representing the sum of more than two decades of widely recognized research and publications, it combines a definitive account of the judicial shaping of a European economic constitution and its impact on diverse fields of national economic and social policy with sophisticated analyses of the methodological foundations and political limits of its legitimacy. Essential reading. (Fritz W. Scharpf, Emeritus Director, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.)

This is a brilliant and original analysis of a much neglected aspect of the interaction between politics and law. Susanne Schmidt compellingly demonstrates how ECJ case law sets limits to how political actors can shape European policies. It is a 'mustread' for all studying and practicing politics. (Adrienne Héritier, Emeritus Professor, European University Institute.)

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