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The European Court of Justice and the Policy ProcessThe Shadow of Case Law$
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Susanne K. Schmidt

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717775

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198717775.001.0001

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(p.231) 8 Conclusion
The European Court of Justice and the Policy Process

Susanne K. Schmidt

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8 concludes with a summary of the book’s findings on whether the ECJ is activist. The impact of the ECJ does not require permanent activism, but rather the Court’s significance is tied to the constitutional nature of its case law. Incremental developments of a constitution have huge implications—those rulings that are deferential to member states cannot offset this importance. Because of the different time perspectives of judicial and political actors, the impact of case law is generally overlooked, as a result of its incremental nature. From a normative perspective, the ECJ’s impact on policy not only leads to further negative integration, but it also withdraws options from majoritarian decision-making. What can be learnt that can be applied to the study of international courts? The chapter closes with a few remarks on where European integration research should go from here.

Keywords:   ECJ activism, EU case law, EU constitutionalization, negative integration, international courts

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