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Book Talk: The Ghostwriters: Lawyers and the Politics behind the Judicial Construction of Europe with Tommaso Pavone

Thursday, December 8, 2022 | 12:00 PM (Pacific)
William J. Perry Conference Room
Encina Hall, Second Floor, Central, C231
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
Tommaso Pavone

The European Union is often depicted as a cradle of judicial activism and a polity built by courts. Tommaso Pavone shows how this judge-centric narrative conceals a crucial arena for political action. Beneath the radar, Europe’s political development unfolded as a struggle between judges who resisted European law and lawyers who pushed them to embrace change. Under the sheepskin of rights-conscious litigants and activist courts, these “Euro-lawyers” sought clients willing to break state laws conflicting with European law, lobbied national judges to uphold European rules, and propelled them to submit noncompliance cases to the European Union’s supreme court - the European Court of Justice - by ghostwriting their referrals.

By shadowing lawyers who encourage deliberate law-breaking and mobilize courts against their own governments, The Ghostwriters overturns the conventional wisdom regarding the judicial construction of Europe and illuminates how the politics of lawyers can profoundly impact institutional change and transnational governance.


Tommaso PavoneTommaso Pavone is Assistant Professor in the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona and Visiting Researcher at the ARENA Center at the University of Oslo. His research interests span comparative politics, law and society, and judicial politics, tracing how lawyers and courts impact processes of political development, social change, and rule of law enforcement in the European Union (EU). His new book with Cambridge University Press – The Ghostwriters: Lawyers and the Politics Behind the Judicial Construction of Europe – reconstructs how entrepreneurial lawyers promoted the development of the EU by encouraging clients to break non-compliant state laws and mobilizing national courts against their own governments.

The book has been praised as “the most important book on European legal integration in decades” and a “stunning achievement” (in reviews by Mark Pollack and Charles Epp) and won four prizes from the American Political Science Association (APSA), the Law and Society Association (LSA), and the European Union Studies Association (EUSA). Pavone’s broader research agenda has produced seventeen scholarly publications, including in leading peer-reviewed journals like the American Political Science Review, World Politics, Law & Society Review, Journal of European Public Policy, and Journal of Law & Courts. It has also been covered in high-profile outlets such as The New York Times, Politico, the European Parliament, and the European Commission. Pavone holds a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University.

*If you need any disability-related accommodation, please contact Shannon Johnson at sj1874@stanford.edu. Requests should be made by December 1, 2022.