Scarlet Robes, Dark Suits: The Social Recruitment of the European Court of Justice
Title: Scarlet Robes, Dark Suits: The Social Recruitment of the European Court of Justice
Author: COHEN, Antonin
Series/Report no.: EUI RSCAS; 2008/35
This paper analyzes the social recruitment of the European Court of Justice from the early 1950s to the late 1990s with special focus on the early days of the Court (1950s-1960s). Early European integration can be described as a series of struggles between opposing types and segments of national elites (political, bureaucratic, juridical, economic, intellectual), competing to define an institutional framework for this yet loosely institutionalized transnational space, and seeking to reproduce, through these institutions, their national power, positions and capital at the international level. As part of this process of institutionalization and differentiation of the European field of power, the European Court of Justice itself was (and still is) relatively heterogeneous. Composed of former parliamentarians, trade-unionists, economic or judiciary civil servants, academics and (but not solely) supreme courts’ judges, the “court” of “justice” perfectly reproduced these tensions between opposing types of capitals and legitimacies. As Norbert Elias once put it, “an initial antagonism and struggle for position between rival groups, may be found in the early history not only of professions, but of almost every institution”. I argue that these structural tensions not only strongly determined the internal logics of the institution, but also its legal output: the jurisprudence.
Subject: European Court of Justice; Social Recruitment; Constitutionalization; Legal professions
This paper was originally presented at the Conference “The European Legal Field-Le champ juridique européen” organized by Bruno de Witte and Antoine Vauchez with the Robert Schuman Centre and the Academy of European Law (European University Institute, 25-26 September 2008).
Type of Access: openAccess