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Iudex Calculat: The ECJ's Quest for Power

  • Stefan Voigt

    (University of Kassel)

Judicial Independence is a crucial aspect of the rule of law and the concept of separation of powers. It gives judges considerable leeway in interpreting and thereby modifying the constitution. In this paper, the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as an actor in the strategic game played between the other actors on the European level as well as actors on the nation-state level (the respective governments, but also national courts, corporate actors and individuals) is inquired into. After describing the changes of the ECJs competence that have occurred since 1953, an attempt at explaining them is undertaken. It is shown that the ECJ has been able to bring about implicit constitutional change because its members are constrained less stringently than most supreme court judges on the nationstate level. It is furthermore shown that lower court judges have incentives to cooperate with the ECJ sometimes to the detriment of national supreme court judges.

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Paper provided by Berkeley Electronic Press in its series German Working Papers in Law and Economics with number 2003-1-1066.

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Handle: RePEc:bep:dewple:2003-1-1066
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  1. Alter, Karen J., 2000. "The European Union's Legal System and Domestic Policy: Spillover or Backlash?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 489-518, June.
  2. Mattli, Walter & Slaughter, Anne-Marie, 1998. "Revisiting the European Court of Justice," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 177-209, December.
  3. Voigt, Stefan & Salzberger, Eli M, 2002. "Choosing Not to Choose: When Politicians Choose to Delegate Powers," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 289-310.
  4. Andrew Moravcsik, 1995. "Liberal Intergovernmentalism and Integration: A Rejoinder," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(4), pages 611-628, December.
  5. Burley, Anne-Marie & Mattli, Walter, 1993. "Europe Before the Court: A Political Theory of Legal Integration," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 41-76, December.
  6. Cooter, Robert D. & Ginsburg, Tom, 1996. "Comparative judicial discretion: An empirical test of economic models," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 295-313, September.
  7. Eli Salzberger & Stefan Voigt, 2002. "On the Delegation of Powers: With Special Emphasis on Central and Eastern Europe," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 25-52, March.
  8. Cooter, Robert & Drexl, Josef, 1994. "The logic of power in the emerging European constitution: Game theory and the division of powers," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 307-326, September.
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