San Diego International Law Journal


Ronan A. Nelson

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Comment will analyze one of the most recent bouts between the EC and Poland in their ongoing struggle over the image of European democracy, rule of law, and national sovereignty: the European Court of Justice’s June 2021 decision in Commission v. Poland. The EU’s conceptions of western democracy and rule of law, including strict adherence to the impartiality of a judicial branch, created the EC’s legal theory for taking a stand against Poland’s autocratic government. However, Poland’s ultimate sovereignty, brought to heightened attention thanks to its far-right leadership, stands in stark opposition to the perceived overreach of the EU’s regulatory authority.

Part II starts by addressing the building tension between the European Commission and Poland over the last decade and how their legal relationship has been bogged in extensive litigation over disputes regarding Poland’s attempted judicial system overhaul. This sets the stage for Part III’s discussion of the case’s facts and the ultimate ruling by the European Court of Justice in favor of the EC. Part IV will analyze the reaction in Poland to the ECJ’s decision and why the EC’s actions might serve an antithetical purpose in the ongoing rule of law struggle.