Can courts rescue national democracy? Judicial safeguards against democratic backsliding in the EU

Michael Blauberger, R. Daniel Kelemen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article explores the potential efficacy and limitations of judicial mechanisms as tools to combat democratic backsliding in European Union (EU) member states. The article argues that more can be done to maximize the effectiveness of existing judicial tools, such as infringement proceedings brought to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) by the Commission and private enforcement litigation in national courts. At the same time, we highlight risks inherent in many proposals for novel judicial tools to defend national democracy. We conclude that despite their importance, judicial safeguards alone–whether existing ones or novel proposals–will not suffice to stop democratic backsliding by a determined national government: if the Union is to rein in such attacks on its core values, heads of government and other EU leaders will have to intervene politically as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-336
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 9 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

Keywords

  • Democratic backsliding
  • European Union
  • infringement proceedings
  • judicial safeguards
  • private litigation

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