Bolsonaro’s Supreme Court nemesis handed another case against the president

justice alexandre de moraes
Justice Alexandre de Moraes. Photo: José Cruz/ABr

Earlier this week, two senators asked the Supreme Court to investigate Prosecutor General Augusto Aras for malfeasance, claiming he had broken the law by not acting to prevent illegalities committed by President Jair Bolsonaro — such as not wearing masks in public spaces, promoting unproven Covid treatments, or hinting that he could stage a coup d’état. Now, the case has been assigned by Chief Justice Luiz Fux to Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who has become a nemesis of the president.

Justice Moraes is now responsible for several inquiries which could impact the president and his allies. His overseeing an investigation into illegal fake news rings and one concerning the president’s alleged attempt to tamper with Federal Police investigations. 

Moreover, Justice Moraes will preside over the Electoral Superior Court next year, which is charged with carrying out two investigations that could result in Mr. Bolsonaro being made ineligible for office. One regards the 2018 election, in which the Bolsonaro campaign is accused of using illegal mass-messaging services to influence voters. The other regards his recent attacks on Brazil’s voting system.

Having this additional case land in his lap means tensions between Alexandre de Moraes and the president are set to escalate further, and the justice will likely become a lightning rod for far-right vitriol. Mr. Bolsonaro promised to present impeachment requests against him, as well as against Justice Luís Roberto Barroso who currently presides over the electoral justice system.