Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law
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Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law

Edited by Gareth Davies and Matej Avbelj

The Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law explores the diversity of phenomenon of overlapping legal systems within the European Union, the nature of their interactions, and how they deal with the difficult question of the legal hierarchy between them. The contributors reflect on the history, sociology and legal scholarship on constitutional and legal pluralism, and develop this further in the light of the challenges currently facing the EU.
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Chapter 22: The dangers of constitutional pluralism

R. Daniel Kelemen


This article rejects the normative claim made by constitutional pluralists that it is desirable to leave questions of ultimate legal authority open and unsettled in the EU context. Not only is the concept of constitutional pluralism logically and practically untenable, it also presents grave dangers to the survival of the EU's judicial order. Though advocates of constitutional pluralism had the best of intentions, their support for this dangerous idea has had damaging effects. Initially developed by sincere academics and championed by the highly respected German Federal Constitutional Court, this dangerous idea has now fallen into the hands of legal miscreants, such as courts controlled by increasingly autocratic member state governments in Hungary and Poland. This opens the way for more challenges to the supremacy of EU law and the CJEU's role in interpreting it. Rather than serving as a basis for constructive judicial dialogue, the concept of constitutional pluralism presents a clear and present danger to the EU legal order.

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