Hours after one of the most controversial sessions in Brazilian congressional history, the newly elected Senate President Davi Alcolumbre addressed his colleagues in an inaugural speech. Though his words were largely generic, there was one part of his address which was a clear challenge to the Federal Supreme Court (STF), the highest tribunal in the country. Mr. Alcolumbre promised a strong and rehabilitated legislature, one that “will not bend to the petty intrusion of the Judiciary branch.”
Mr. Alcolumbre’s barb was directly targeted at the Supreme Court Chief Justice Dias Toffoli, who had issued an injunction at 4 am that morning ordering the presidential election in the Senate take place by way of a secret ballot. Despite being the highest tribunal in Brazil, tasked with “safeguarding the Constitution,” some Senators discussed the possibility of disobeying the Supreme Court ruling, showing just how fraught the relationship between the two powers has become.