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The Judicial Politics of National Court''s Decisions on EU Treaties

Pablo José Castillo Ortiz
University of Sheffield
Pablo José Castillo Ortiz
University of Sheffield
Open Panel

Abstract

National Constitutional and Supreme Courts have played a prominent role in the processes of ratification of EU Treaties: in many ocassions they had to assess the constitutionality of the Treaty being ratified, which meant that they had a power -some times a veto power- regarding the overall process. At the same time, their participation in the processes had a substantive relevance, since they were assing the constitutionality of norms due to which an European legal system was being created. This European legal system included its own Court -the ECJ- and, therefore, throught it many national High Courts were loosing the monopoly of constitutional interpretation. This paper explores these national Court''s decisions regarding EU Treaties, when issued in the processes of ratification of the Treaties. Empirical evidence is found suggesting that three patterns explain Court''s behavour: first, a cost-avoiding behavour in which they avoid decisions that may endanger the ratificatin of the Treaty or distabilize internal politics; second, an empowering behavour in which they try to reinforce their power in front of the ECJ; finally, a legally-oriented behavour in which they try to maximize the construction of legal coherence between European and National legal systems if it doesn''t go against the former goal-oriented patterns.