Bolsonaro doubles down on stalled Supreme Court pick

bolsonaro supreme court
Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR

In a public event this morning, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro said he will persist with the nomination of his former Justice Minister André Mendonça to the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. While Mr. Bolsonaro put his name forward on July 13, the Senate is looking to stall his confirmation hearing until after next year’s election, by which time the president could be voted out of office.

Speaking in the São Paulo countryside town of Miracatu — where André Mendonça was born — Mr. Bolsonaro proclaimed that “if [his hometown of] Eldorado can have a president, then soon Miracatu will have a Supreme Court justice. “To the family of Miracatu, to the family of André Mendonça, my compliments for the extremely competent, capable, and intelligent man.”

As a rule, the Senate must hold a confirmation hearing before appointing a new member of the Supreme Court. And this hearing must be authorized by the head of the chamber’s Constitution and Justice Committee (CCJ), a post currently held by Senator Davi Alcolumbre, allied with political figures who are banding together to beat Mr. Bolsonaro at the ballot next year.

Until this morning, the government’s silence about the delay in Mr. Mendonça’s confirmation had raised suspicion that the administration might not be completely behind the former Justice Minister in his bid for a seat on the country’s highest court.