Building legitimacy: strategic case allocations in the Court of Justice of the European Union
Silje Synnøve Lyder Hermansen has published an article in the Journal of European Public Policy.
Does the President of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) make strategic use of his members? Cases in the CJEU are prepared by a ‘judge-rapporteur’ who acts as an agenda setter. I argue that the President builds the Court’s legitimacy by strategically allocating cases to select judges. Using original data on 9623 case allocations (1980–2015), I argue that suspicions about judges’ political accountability can polarize already politicized debates. The President circumvents such dynamics by appointing a rapporteur whose government holds moderate political preferences. However, politics are relevant mainly when case law is not yet developed. The need for consistency also contributes to explain judges individual-level specialization, which arguably favors the construction of a coherent case law. The results speak to the lingering effect of judges’ renewable terms – despite secret voting – as well as the importance of courts’ internal organization for judicial independence.
The full article is available here.