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Vol 24 No 9 Sept/Oct 2019

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European Court's Political Power: Selected Essays

ISBN13: 9780199595143
Published: May 2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback (Hardback 2009)
Price: £31.49
Hardback edition , ISBN13 9780199558353

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Karen Alter's work on the European Court of Justice heralded a new level of sophistication in the political analysis of the controversial institution, through its combination of legal understanding and active engagement with theoretical questions. The European Court's Political Power assembles the most important of Alter's articles written over a fourteen year span, adding an original new introduction and a conclusion that takes an overview of the Court's development and current concerns.

Together the articles provide insight into the historical and political contours of the ECJ's influence on European politics, explaining how and why the impact of an institution can vary so greatly over time and access different issues. The book starts with the European Coal and Steel Community, where the ECJ was largely unable to facilitate greater member state respect for ECSC rules. Alter then shows how legal actors orchestrated an activist transformation of the European legal system, with the critical aid of jurist advocacy movements, and via the co-optation of national courts. The transformation of the European legal system wrested control from member states over the meaning of European law, but the ECJ continues to have varying influence across different issues. Alter explains that the differing influence of the ECJ comes from the varied extent to which sub- and supra-national actors turn to it to achieve political objectives.

Looking beyond the European experience, the book includes four chapters that put the ECJ into a comparative perspective, examining the extent to which the ECJ experience is a unique harbinger of the future role international courts may play in international and comparative politics.

EU Law
1: The European Court of Justice Across Time and Space
I. The ECJ During the Founding Period of Legal Integration (1952-1980)
2: The Theory and Reality of the European Coal and Steel Community
3: Transnational Jurist Advocacy Networks in Europe: The Role of Euro-law Associations in Promoting Supra-National Integration (1953-1970)
4: The European Court of Justice's Political Power
5: Who are the Masters of the Treaty? European Governments and the European Court of Justice
II. ECJ and its Varied Influence on European Policy & Politics (1980-2005)
6: Judicial Politics in the European Community: European Integration and the Pathbreaking Cassis de Dijon decision
7: Explaining Variation in the Use of European Litigation Strategies: EC law and UK Gender Equality Policy
8: The European Legal System and Domestic Policy: Spillover or Backlash?
9: Banana Splits: Nested and Competing Regimes in the Transatlantic Banana Trade Dispute
III. Beyond European Court Politics
10: The European Court and Legal Integration: An Exceptional Story or Harbinger of the Future?
11: Agents or Trustees? International Courts in their Political Context
12: Private Litigants and the New International Courts
13: Conclusion;