2022 Race

Bolsonaro appoints new electoral court understudy

bolsonaro electoral court
André Ramos Tavares, Brazil’s soon-to-become understudy justice at the Superior Electoral Court. Photo: Archive

President Jair Bolsonaro appointed lawyer André Ramos Tavares as an understudy justice of the Superior Electoral Court. The president was obliged to select a candidate from a three-person list drawn up by the Supreme Court, and Mr. Tavares was the best-voted out of the trio. 

Brazil’s top electoral court comprises seven justices — three from the Supreme Court, two from the Superior Court of Justice (the country’s second-highest judicial body), and two lawyers. It has an equal number of understudies.

Despite being on his way out of the presidency, Mr. Bolsonaro faces multiple accusations of electoral crimes — including abuse of the state apparatus in his re-election campaign and his alleged involvement in an illegal misinformation network. If convicted, Mr. Bolsonaro could become ineligible for office.

Mr. Ramos is a law professor at the University of São Paulo and previously worked as head of the presidency’s Public Ethics Committee. He has close ties to Supreme Court Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, appointed to a seat on the court by President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during his first term in March 2006.

Mr. Ramos has already signed legal opinions commissioned by Lula’s Workers’ Party. In one of them, he defended Lula’s candidacy in 2018 after the politician had lost his political rights following corruption and money laundering convictions, which were since quashed. 

In another opinion, he criticized the impeachment process against former President Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s handpicked successor.