The course addresses the key principles of European Union constitutional law through an analysis of the case-law of the Court of Justice (“CJEU”) as well as several theoretical perspectives on the discipline. The main themes of the class will be the vertical division of powers (between the Union and its Member States), the horizontal division of powers (between European institutions), the principle of direct effect, the status of human rights within the European legal order, legal pluralism, national identity, citizenship and the rule of law.

The primary source material for the class is the case-law of the CJEU. The class seeks to develop a realist perspective on judicial decision-making. By the end of the course, sudents will be able to construct legal counter-arguments to the analysis put forward by the Court in its case-law. This will allow the student to take a critical position with respect to the case-law of the Court.

The course also engages with theoretical perspectives on the discipline. We will discuss different conceptualizations of the notion of constitutionalism, and address whether and how the notion can be and is relevant for the European Union legal order. These theoretical perspectives are brought to bear on an analysis of the case-law of the Court.