The Politics of Citations at the ECJ: Policy Preferences of EU Member State Governments and the Citation Behavior of Members of the European Court of Justice
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 14, Issue 4, pp. 813-857, 2017
50 Pages Posted: 12 May 2016 Last revised: 5 Feb 2019
Date Written: January 30, 2017
This paper investigates the relationship between the political preferences of EU Member States and the behavior of judges at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) by analyzing their citation behavior. It shows that judges at the ECJ are more likely to cite judgments authored by judges appointed by Member State governments with similar preferences regarding European integration. Analogous with the context of U.S. courts, non-random opinion assignment potentially threatens the validity of these results. To overcome this problem, I exploit the unique institutional setting at the ECJ to develop an improved identification strategy which builds on comparing the citations in two documents produced in the same case (i.e., the judgment and the opinion of the Advocate General). The findings in this paper provide evidence for the hypothesis that the political preferences of Member State governments are reflected in the behavior of the members of the ECJ.
Keywords: Judge Behavior, European Court of Justice, Citation Analysis
JEL Classification: K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation