Justice Contained: Law and Politics in the European Union

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In this probing analysis of the European Union's transnational legal system, Lisa Conant explores the interaction between law and politics. In particular, she challenges the widely held view that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has, through bold judicial activism, brought about profound policy and institutional changes within the EU's member states. She argues convincingly that this court, like its domestic counterparts, depends on the support of powerful organized interests to gain compliance with its rulings. What, Conant asks, are the policy implications of the ECJ's decisions? How are its rulings applied in practice? Drawing on the rich scholarship on the U.S. Supreme Court, Conant depicts the limits that the ECJ and other tribunals have to face. To illuminate these constraints, she traces the impact of ECJ decisions in four instances concerning market competition and national discrimination. She also proposes ways of anticipating which of this court's legal interpretations are likely to inspire major reforms.Justice Contained closes with a comparative analysis of judicial power, identifying the ECJ as an institution with greater similarities to domestic courts than to international organizations. The book advances a deeper understanding both of the court's contributions to European integration and of the political economy of litigation and reform.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this important and convincing study in practical constitutional politics, Conant demonstrates in wonderfully detailed case studies how the European Court of Justice depends on the support of domestic institutional actors and interests to turn judicial opinions into domestic policy. . . . Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above."—Choice, January 2003, Vol. 40, No. 5

"Lisa Conant has written a wonderful book that I recommend to scholars in the fields of public law, European politics, comparative law, and public policy."—Sally J. Kenney, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, The Law and Politics Book Review, Vol. 13, No. 6, June 2003

"Scholars interested in comparative courts and judicial politics, especially the ECJ in the process of European integration, should not hesitate in reading this very interesting book. Faculty teaching graduate seminars in law and politics of the European Union will also find in it a suitable course addition."—Perspectives on Politics 2:1, March 2004

"Justice Contained is an important contribution to our understanding of how policy change in the 'New Europe' actually comes about. Lisa Conant analyzes the substantive impact of European Court of Justice decisions by examining broad political contexts—both in Brussels and in member-states—and thereby helps explain why some Court decisions have a great deal of impact while others have much less."—Alberta M. Sbragia, Director, European Union Center at the Center for West European Studies and Professor of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh

"Justice Contained is comprehensive in its theoretical scope, rich in empirical detail, and original in its contribution to scholarly debates. Lisa Conant offers a truly important advance in our understanding of the role of the European Court of Justice in European integration, as well as a valuable contribution to the comparative study of activist courts"—Charles Epp, University of Kansas

"Lisa Conant moves beyond the now obsolescing debate about the general nature and powers of the European Court of Justice. Conant shows through concrete case studies that the decisions of the ECJ enjoy different levels of enforcement and real impact in different areas of public policy, depending on the constellation of political forces in each. This book not only begins a new generation of ECJ studies but also constitutes 'must' reading for anyone interested in judicial policy making."—Martin Shapiro,University of California, Berkeley

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801439100
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
1 Introduction: Justice Contained 1
2 The Variable Reach of the Law: The European Court of Justice and the Politics of Legal Integration 15
3 Containing Justice: Institutional Constraints on Law in the European Union 50
4 From Jurisprudence to Policy: The Liberalization of European Telecommunications 95
5 European Law and What States Made of it: Intergovernmental Reform of Electricity 122
6 From Law to Policy and Practice? Nationality and Access to Public-Sector Employment 151
7 Justice Contained and Reversed: Nationality, Territory, and Access to Social Benefits 177
8 The European Court of Justice and Judicial Authority: Comparisons and Conclusions 213
Index 243
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