This article examines the shift in the European Union (EU) system of judicial protection under Art. 19(1)(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), as reflected by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgments Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses (ASJP) and Minister for Justice and Equality (LM). Prior to the emergence of the rule of law crisis in Poland and Hungary, judicial independence served as one of the many requirements for a court seeking a preliminary ruling under Art. 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). [---]