Explaining Brazil #160: Bolsonaro’s Evangelical justice

Jair Bolsonaro is using a Supreme Court nomination to rally his base. We explain the effects of his appointment on Brazilian justice and politics.

Back in 2019, President Jair Bolsonaro promised his religious support base that he would appoint an “extremely Evangelical” justice to the Supreme Court.

But when he first had the chance to do so, he didn’t live up to his word.

Now, with the election a year away, another seat on the 11-member court has opened up, and Mr. Bolsonaro has indeed selected an “extremely Evangelical” legal mind to sit on Brazil’s highest tribunal — Solicitor General André Mendonça.

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  • Diego Werneck is a law professor at the São Paulo-based Insper Business School and holds a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Bonus Take on André Mendonça to the Supreme Court:

  • Luís Henrique Machado is a criminal lawyer who presents cases before Brazilian higher courts. He spoke with The Brazilian Report over the phone about the André Mendonça nomination.

Mr. Machado is less skeptical about the new Supreme Court justice, saying “his career gives him the credentials to take a seat on Brazil’s highest court.” The lawyer adds that multiple appointments have been frowned upon in the past amid suspicions that justices would simply repay presidents with their gavel — but that has not traditionally been the case in practice. 

However, Mr. Machado believes that the government’s political crisis could mean Mr. Mendonça will face a less-than-amicable confirmation hearing in the Senate. 

Background reading:

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