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Understanding the Role of the European Court of Justice in European Integration


In 2008 we published an article finding evidence for political constraints on European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision making. Stone Sweet and Brunell (this issue) argue that our theoretical foundations are fundamentally flawed and that our empirical evidence supports neofunctionalism over intergovernmentalism “in a landslide.” We respectfully disagree with Stone Sweet and Brunell regarding both their conclusions about our theoretical arguments and what the empirical evidence demonstrates. We use this response to clarify our argument and to draw a clearer contrast between our and their perspective on the role the ECJ plays in European integration. Finally, we reevaluate their neofunctionalist hypotheses. Ultimately, we do not find support in the data for Stone Sweet and Brunell's empirical claims.

Corresponding author
Clifford J. Carruba is Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Emory University, 327 Tarbutton Hall, 1555 Pierce Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322 (
Matthew Gabel is Professor, Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130 (
Charles Hankla is Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 4069, Atlanta, GA 30302 (
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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
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