Alter, Karen. (1997) "Who are the 'masters of the Treaty'? European governments and the European Court of Justice". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
To what extent can the European Court of Justice (ECJ), an international court, make decisions which go against the interests of EC member states? Neo-functionalist accounts imply that because it is a legal body the ECJ has vast political autonomy from the member states, while the neo-realist accounts imply that because member states can sanction the ECJ, the Court has no significant political autonomy. Both of these approaches overlook that the ECJ was once politically weak, and that the Court's current autonomy reflects significant unintended changes in the European and national legal systems. In explaining how the European Court escaped member state control, this article develops a general explanation of European Court autonomy, focusing on how differing time horizons of political and judicial actors, political support for the Court within the national judiciaries, and decision-making rules at the supranational level limit the member states' abilities to control the European Court.
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