Many experts of EU migration law deal with ECJ judgments on a regular basis, but they rarely reflect on how individual rulings on diverse themes such as asylum, family reunification or return relate to each other. This article fills that gap and presents a horizontal analysis of 155 judgments combining quantitative and qualitative findings. Our statistical survey shows that selected themes and references from certain countries dominate the ECJ’s activities. In qualitative terms, the article considers three overarching themes: the concept of public policy; the practice of statutory interpretation, including in light of objectives: the principle of proportionality and interaction with domestic courts. Our study shows that the search for cross-sectoral coherence defines much of the case law, although success of this venture is compromised by enduring inconsistencies, which complicate the emergence of a reliable and predictable judicial approach towards the interpretation of secondary legislation on migration.