In the wake of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union the legitimacy of European institutions and their law-making powers are questioned in all Member States. These questions are related to the understanding of sovereignty as the final arbiter of right and wrong in the democratic nation state. The role of law in this context is analysed by relying on European thinkers of the enlightenment who have shaped our understanding of law and legal systems to this day: Jeremy Bentham, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant. An analysis of the case law of the European Court of Justice reveals the constitutionalization of European law. The chain that bound sovereignty and law together was broken when the Court ruled that the Treaty confers upon citizens the right to enforce specific Treaty obligations of Member States in their domestic Courts of law. The task for the Community is to develop standards of Community law that limit the Community's jurisdiction just as it limits the power of Member States.
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