Power

Supreme Court seat remains vacant amid political tug-of-war

Jair Bolsonaro appointed André Mendonça to a Supreme Court vacancy in July, but the Senate is stalling his confirmation hearing for as long as possible — a move led by Brazil's answer to Mitch McConnell

President Bolsonaro and Senator Davi Alcolumbre, who is sitting on the president's Supreme Court nomination. Photo: Alan Santos/PR
President Bolsonaro and Senator Davi Alcolumbre, who is sitting on the president’s Supreme Court nomination. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Never before — at least not since the enactment of Brazil’s 1988 Constitution — has one of the country’s Supreme Court seats laid empty for so long. Justice Marco Aurélio Mello retired almost 70 days ago and his replacement has yet to be formalized. President Jair Bolsonaro nominated André Mendonça for the vacancy in July, but the head of the Senate’s Constitution and Justice Committee (CCJ) is seeking to delay his confirmation hearing for as long as possible.

As the chairman of the CCJ, former Senate President Davi Alcolumbre has the power to choose when Supreme Court appointments will...

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