The Notion of Consensus as a Route to Democratic Adjudication? The United States Supreme Court, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights Compared

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Building on the theory of democratic constitutionalism, I assess the political implications of the constitutional space formed by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and national constitutional courts in Europe. Democratic constitutionalism helps situate the role of constitutional courts in stimulating a degree of consensus, necessary for governance of heterogeneous communities such as the United States and the European Union. Questions of legitimacy and confidence in the judiciary come to the fore. I examine a mechanism used by the US Supreme Court, the CJEU and the ECtHR alike to foster democratic constitutionalism: in order to confront challenges to judicial legitimacy and remain responsive to the extra-judicial environment, these courts rely on majoritarian trends, or consensus, inspired by, but not limited to, the constitutional law of federal states and member countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-695
Number of pages33
JournalCambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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