Camilla Cavendish writes in the Times’ “Thunderer“ column:
…Of the judges on the European Court of Justice (ECJ), we know nothing. While Americans debate the health of Chief Justice William Rehnquist and whether the Supreme Court will shift to the right, few Europeans know even the names of those who sit on Europe’s supreme court.
Invisibility is not impotence. In interpreting the spirit of an integrationist Europe, the ECJ has a duty to keep extending its scope. It has ruled, for example, that public health is covered by single market legislation because health is a service, and services can be traded. Its rulings on cross-border tax disputes are slowly eroding national vetoes on tax. …
… the inexorable creep of centralising and judicial power which has been part and parcel of America’s federal experience. The Founding Fathers never foresaw how much power the Supreme Court would gain.
Europe’s leaders are too smug to seek American advice on constitutions this week. But the people of Europe should start asking for the names and political affiliations of the judges that their leaders have appointed.
The ECJ and its judges are anonymous? Well, whose fault might that be? It’s not like they are hiding anything. Perhaps the hacks at the Times (and other papers) should just do a better job of covering the institutions that they rightly recognise as increasing in importance. Maybe then all those bureaucrats and judges who are allegedly arrogating power by moving it to the European level wouldn’t be so “anonymous”.
Update: A commenter wants to know who appoints ECJ judges. There is one ECJ judge from each EU country. They are appointed for renewable six year terms by their governments. To be considered as a ECJ judge, you must be a highly-qualified academic lawyers (“jurisconsults”) or a High Court or Appeal judge.