Senate to hold confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee

supreme court senate Senator Davi Alcolumbre. Photo: Pedro França/SF/CC-BY 4.0
Senator Davi Alcolumbre. Photo: Pedro França/SF/CC-BY 4.0

Chairman of the Senate’s Constitution and Justice Committee, Senator Davi Alcolumbre scheduled for next week the long-awaited confirmation hearing of former Solicitor General André Mendonça, President Jair Bolsonaro’s nominee to fill an open seat on the Supreme Court.

The nomination was made in July, but Mr. Alcolumbre has sat on the case ever since — coming under a lot of heat as a result. The committee chairman tried to force Mr. Bolsonaro to change his pick for the court, favoring Prosecutor General Augusto Aras instead, thanks to his popularity among lawmakers.

The government tried to strongarm Mr. Alcolumbre by suspending the payment of budgetary grants allocated to his constituency, but President Bolsonaro has recently tried to extend an olive branch. Still, the senator reportedly believes he has enough votes to block Mr. Mendonça’s appointment after the hearing. 

Confirmation hearings are usually a mere formality, with senators throwing softball questions and overwhelmingly supporting the nomination of any president. This time around, however, the outcome is uncertain.

Meanwhile, the House’s Constitution and Justice Committee passed a constitutional amendment bill lowering the mandatory retirement age of members of high courts. As we explained in today’s Brazil Daily newsletter, that would give Mr. Bolsonaro additional Supreme Court picks before his term expires.