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Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Elects New President

(Mar. 16, 2012) Brazil – Federal Supreme Court Elects New President

As of April 19, 2012, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice will have a new president. On March 14, 2012, Minister Ayres Britto was elected by his peers as the new president of both institutions and Minister Joaquim Barbosa was selected as vice-president. Although elected to preside over the Court and the Council for the 2012-2014 period, Britto must leave these positions before the end of his term, in November 2012, when he turns 70 years old and is required by law to leave the bench. (Plenário Elege Ministro Ayres Britto como Presidente do STF, Supremo Tribunal Federal website (Mar. 14, 2012).)

After the election, Britto thanked the court for the trust vested in him to preside over both institutions. He highlighted the fact that his work style is one of public knowledge; that is, he works to “project over the daily institutional routine a collective perspective” and he favors shared management. He emphasized that he was positive that he could count on each of the Supreme Court Ministers to help him rigorously preside over the two institutions based on the provisions of the Constitution.

Federal Supreme Court

According to the Constitution of 1988, the Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF) is the highest court in Brazil and is entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding the Constitution (Constituição da República Federativa do Brasil [C.F.], art. 102, PLANALTO.GOV.BR). It also functions as a court of review (C.F. art. 102 II & III).

The STF is composed of 11 Ministers chosen from among citizens over 35 and under 65 years of age who possess “notable juridical learning and a spotless reputation” (C.F. art. 101). Ministers are appointed by the President of Brazil after the nomination has been approved by an absolute majority of the Federal Senate (C.F. art. 101 § 1).

National Council of Justice

TheNational Council of Justice (Conselho Nacional de Justiça) was created in 2004 through Constitutional Amendment No. 45 of December 30, 2004 (Emenda Constitucional No. 45, de 30 de Dezembro de 2004, PLANALTO.GOV.BR). It is the agency responsible for the administrative and financial control of the judiciary and the supervision of judges (C.F. art. 103-B § 4; see also the National Council of Justice website (last visited Mar. 15, 2012)).