The Federal Politics of Judicial Power: Courts, Parties, and Political Development in the United States and Europe

PluriCourts Lunch Seminar  with Tommaso Pavone.


Across many domestic and transnational polities, durable shifts in governing authority have been of a piece with the growth of judicial power. The role of courts as agents and subjects of political development is thrown in starkest relief in processes of "coming-together federalism." For these fledgling unions pooling sovereignty from previously autonomous states, an active federal court is crucial to the construction of a new political authority. This paper proposes a comparative theory of judicial empowerment in nascent federal unions through a comparative historical analysis of the antebellum US Supreme Court and the postwar Court of Justice of the EU. I argue that the federal politics of judicial power (i) center on overcoming the infrastructural challenges of fragmented governance and (ii) vary by the degree of interaction between judicial and party politics.


PluriCourts Lunch Seminars are a forum for pluridisciplinary discussion of core issues relating to international courts and tribunals. PluriCourts scholars or invited speakers present new and ongoing research or comment on current questions. The seminars are open to everyone.

Tags: CJEU
Published July 4, 2019 2:27 PM - Last modified Nov. 6, 2019 6:32 PM