Brazil's Senate approves Lula ally as new Supreme Court justice
Legal Topics | 2023/12/14 16:29
Brazil’s Senate approved the appointment of Justice Minister Flávio Dino on Wednesday to take a seat on the country’s Supreme Court.

Dino, a former leftist state governor who cracked down on supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro after they rampaged through government buildings last January, was approved for the court of 11 justics on a vote of 47-31.

The vote, which came after a full day of speeches by senators in a divisive hearing, underscored that the opposition led by the rightist Bolsonaro is not strong enough to block the agenda of his leftist successor, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Dino will replace former Chief Justice Rosa Maria Weber, who stepped down in September after turning 75, the age limit for the nation’s Supreme Court justices.

Dino, who was a federal judge for 12 years before starting his political career, governed Brazil’s northeastern state of Maranhao in 2015-2023. His decisions to impose curfews and movement restrictions during the pandemic made him an antagonist of Bolsonaro, who argued against strict measures against COVID-19.

“He is one of the few Brazilians who has had jobs in the executive, the legislative and the judiciary,” Sen. Weverton Rocha said before the vote. “He clearly suits the supreme court well. He knows how to behave in every role he has had.”

Sen. Magno Malta, an evangelical leader and staunch Bolsonaro supporter, voted against the appointment over Dino’s past in the country’s communist party and as a former member of the Brazilian Socialist Party.

Dino is the second Supreme Court justice appointed by Lula, who is in his third term as president, who also was in the top post in 2003-2010. Cristiano Zanin, once Lula’s lawyer, was approved to join the court in July on a 58-18 vote in the Senate.

Feminist activists have criticized Lula for not naming a woman to replace Weber on the high court. Its only female member now is Justice Carmen Lúcia.

Senators also approved Paulo Gonet as Brazil’s prosecutor-general on a 65-11 vote. He will replace Bolsonaro-appointee Augusto Aras.

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