Tommaso Pavone, Politics

Law Deserts and Legal Battlefields: Local Context and the Trajectories of EU Legalization in Italy

Date: 
Wed, 04/08/2015
Location: 
438 Robertson Hall
Audience: 
Graduate Students


LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.

Abstract: This article lays the foundation for analyzing and interpreting the historical reception and litigation of European Union (EU) law across the subnational communities of EU member states. I argue that in the proximately ideal-typical case the optimal level of litigation of EU rules should exhibit (i) synchronic variation according to the location-specific fit between the rules' content and the social needs of local life and (ii) diachronic variation modeled as a normal legalization process of reception, clarification and contestation, and settlement of the rules themselves. Yet deviations from the normal legalization trajectory are likely due to the variant spatio-temporal distribution and performance of litigation-supporting and information-diffusing institutions. When either local knowledge of EU law or a modest litigation-support structure is lacking, an underlitigation trajectory, and an EU "law desert," will emerge. Conversely, when information-diffusion interacts with an overzealous and malfunctioning local litigation-support structure an overlitigation trajectory, and an EU "legal battlefield," is likely to become entrenched. Finally, I showcase the analytic utility of the foregoing framework via a preliminary case study of the subnational litigation of EU law in Italy. Specifically, I construct an original geocoded dataset of cases referred by Italian courts to the EU's European Court of Justice from the 1950s into the present day and use geospatial statistics and qualitative secondary source evidence to uncover variant EU legalization trajectories across northern and southern regions that are consistent with the observable implications of the foregoing framework.

Tommaso Pavone is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Politics. His research interests lie at the intersection of comparative politics and public law, with a regional focus on the European Union. He is particularly interested comparative political and constitutional development, but also has interests in the study of European integration, the institutional and comparative political analysis of courts, historical institutionalist approaches for sociolegal inquiry, and the role of human rights within European law. He received his M.A. in social sciences, with a focus on political science and public law, from the University of Chicago (2012) and his B.A. in public policy from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (2010). Before coming to Princeton, he was a Research Technician Senior at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).