Document Type

Working Paper

Repository Date



International Courts, International Tribunals, European Court of Justice, European Union, European Community, Regional Trade, Regional Integration, International Relations, Administrative State, Judicial Politics, Preliminary References

Subject Categories

Courts | Human Rights Law | International Law | International Relations | International Trade Law | Law | Law and Politics


This article extracts from Alter's larger body of work insights on how the political and social context shapes the ECJ's political power and influence. Part I considers how the political context facilitated the constitutionalization of the European legal system. Part II considers how the political context helps determine where and when the current ECJ influences European politics. Part III draws lessons from the ECJ's experience, speculating on how the European context in specific allowed the ECJ to become such an exceptional international court. Part IV lays out a research agenda to investigate the larger question of how social support shapes the role of judges in politics.