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

See all articles by Mikael Madsen

Mikael Madsen

University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts; University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Law

Juan A. Mayoral

Carlos III-Juan March Institute of Social Sciences; iCourts, Centre of Excellence for International Courts; European University Institute - Department of Political and Social Sciences (SPS); Juan March Institute for Study and Research

Anton Strezhnev

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science

Erik Voeten

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS)

Date Written: September 17, 2021

Abstract

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

Madsen, Mikael and Mayoral, Juan A. and Strezhnev, Anton and Voeten, Erik, Sovereignty, Substance, and Public Support for European Courts’ Human Rights Rulings (September 17, 2021). 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), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3681988 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3681988

Mikael Madsen

University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts ( email )

University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Law ( email )

Studiestraede 6
Studiestrade 6
Copenhagen, DK-1455
Denmark

Juan A. Mayoral

Carlos III-Juan March Institute of Social Sciences ( email )

iCourts, Centre of Excellence for International Courts ( email )

Karen Blixens Plads 16
Copenhagen, DK-2300
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://jura.ku.dk/icourts/staff/profile/?pure=en/persons/475275

European University Institute - Department of Political and Social Sciences (SPS) ( email )

Via dei Roccettini 9
San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, 50014
Italy

Juan March Institute for Study and Research ( email )

77 Castello Street
Madrid, E-28006
Spain

Anton Strezhnev

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.antonstrezhnev.com

Erik Voeten (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

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