Sovereignty, Substance, and Public Support for European Courts’ Human Rights Rulings
Madsen, Mikael and Mayoral, Juan A. and Strezhnev, Anton and Voeten, Erik, Sovereignty, Substance, and Public Support for European Courts’ Human Rights Rulings, American Political Science Review (forthcoming)
72 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2020 Last revised: 14 Oct 2021
Date Written: September 17, 2021
Is the public backlash against human rights rulings from European courts driven by substantive concerns over case outcomes, procedural concerns over sovereignty or combinations thereof? We conducted pre-registered survey experiments in Denmark, France, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom using three vignettes: a foreigner who faces extradition, a person fighting a fine for burning Qurans, and a home-owner contesting eviction. Each vignette varies whether a European court disagrees with a national court (deference treatment) and whether an applicant wins a case (outcome treatment). We find little evidence that deference moves willingness to implement judgments or acceptance of court authority but ample evidence that case outcomes matter. Even nationalists and authoritarian are unmoved by European court decisions as long as they agree with the case outcome. These findings imply that nationalist opposition to European courts is more about content than the location of authority and that backlash to domestic and international courts may be driven by similar forces.
Keywords: International Courts, Public Opinion, Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, European Court of Justice
JEL Classification: K00, F5, F53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation