Brazil's Senate approves Lula ally as new Supreme Court justice

Legal Business

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.

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