Bolsonaro hints at new assault on Supreme Court

new assault on Supreme Court
President Bolsonaro at the opening of the Agrishow trade show. Photo: Anderson Riedel/PR

After pardoning a congressional ally convicted by the Supreme Court of physically threatening its justices, President Jair Bolsonaro signaled that he may try to challenge the court even further. Speaking at an agricultural trade show, Mr. Bolsonaro hinted that he could challenge a decision involving the demarcation of indigenous lands.

The Supreme Court is analyzing whether land claims by indigenous groups should be valid if the group in question cannot prove they occupied land at the time of the Constitution’s approval, in 1988. Native groups claim their right to land must be granted based on their ancestral connection to a given territory.

“If [the pro-indigenous understanding prevails], I have two alternatives: hand over the keys [of the government] to the Supreme Court or put my foot down. I have no other option,” he told reporters on Monday. There are 724 ongoing cases of land demarcation — some of which have been running for over 15 years already.

This is not the first time Mr. Bolsonaro has threatened to ignore a Supreme Court decision. In September of last year, the president led rallies with putschist undertones in which he said he would not follow rulings he deems illegitimate.