Opinion

Will Bolsonaro’s new Supreme Court pick be as loyal as he hopes?

Jair Bolsonaro selected André Mendonça to sit on the country's highest court due to his religious credentials — but history shows that high-court appointments often do not go the way Brazilian presidents intend

bolsonaro supreme court pick
President Bolsonaro picked André Mendonça to fill a Supreme Court seat in July 2021. The Senate confirmed his nomination in December. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR

That chief executives might seek to curry undue favor from the judiciary by using their power of nomination is a consistent and well-known concern. And this is the main reason why Supreme Court appointments are so intensely scrutinized. 

There are many ways that the ideal delicate balance between branches of government can be corrupted. For example, President Jair Bolsonaro has said on multiple occasions that former Justice Minister Sergio Moro joined his cabinet with the clear aim of ending up on the Supreme Court bench. Mr. Moro denies ever making such a request, either implicitly or explicitly, as doing...

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