During his speech at the inaugural session of the 2022 legislative year, Supreme Court Chief Justice Luiz Fux used the word “democracy” nine times. And most of the instances had one not-so-veiled target: President Jair Bolsonaro.
According to Chief Justice Fux, “there is no more space for actions against the democratic regime, nor for violence against public institutions.” Filled with references to the 2022 election, he rejected an “us v. them” mentality that is expected to set the tone in the campaign opposing Mr. Bolsonaro and his nemesis, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Chief Justice Fux said that such disputes “do not belong in a democracy.”
“The Supreme Court, the guardian of the Constitution, urges Brazilians to ensure that the election year is marked by stability and tolerance,” he said. “Elections must be a collective opportunity for us to make virtuous and conscious choices towards national prosperity.”
The year of the judiciary begins with a large elephant in the court. Last week, Justice Alexandre de Moraes subpoenaed President Bolsonaro to testify during a federal probe in which he is accused of leaking sealed information to the public (investigators believe Mr. Bolsonaro did indeed commit a crime).
The president skipped the deposition, and the full bench may be required to decide collectively how to react.