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The Legitimacy of the Court of Justice in the European Union: Models of Institutional Support

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2013

Gregory A. Caldeira
Affiliation:
Ohio State University
James L. Gibson
Affiliation:
University of Houston

Abstract

Using a survey of mass publics, we investigate the political legitimacy of the Court of Justice of the European Communities. To what degree does the Court have the visibility and diffuse support necessary for legitimacy? What accounts for variability in support for the Court? Are theories developed largely in the American context generalizable in Western Europe to a transnational legal institution? Do the sources of the Court's legitimacy vary across nations, and how? Our analysis indicates that relatively obscure institutions such as the Court of Justice are unlikely to build support through satisfying their constituencies' demands. Without information about the Court of Justice, ordinary citizens form their views based on its connection with the European Union and its association with broad political and legal values. As the Court moves into the limelight of European law and politics, the decisions the judges make may increasingly shape citizens' perceptions of its legitimacy.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 1995

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