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Brazil: The Federal Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice Have a New President

(Apr. 24, 2012) On April 19, 2012, Minister Ayres Britto was inaugurated as the new President of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court, with Minister Joaquim Barbosa as the Vice-President. Minister Britto will also preside over the National Council of Justice (Conselho Nacional de Justiça), a judicial agency responsible for the administrative and financial control of the judiciary and the supervision of judges. (Ayres Britto Assume a Presidência do Supremo Tribunal Federal, O GLOBO (Apr. 19, 2012).) In his inauguration speech, Minister Britto “emphasized the importance of enforcing the Federal Constitution and respecting democracy, freedom of the press, the probity of public administrators, and transparency.” (Id.) Minister Britto was quoted as saying that he considers essential the Clean Record Law, the Maria da Penha Law, and the Child and Adolescent Statute, and he highlighted the role of the judiciary in improving morality in politics. (Id.)

Minister Britto will only exercise the presidency for seven months, because in November he will turn 70 years old and will have to retire from the Court. The position will then be assumed by Court Vice-President Barbosa. (Id.)

The Clean Record Law (Lei da Ficha Limpa, Lei Complementar No. 135, de 4 de Junho de 2010) amended Supplemental Law No. 64 of May 18, 1990, establishing, in accordance with article 14, section 9, of the Constitution, criteria of ineligibility to hold public office for the purpose of protecting administrative probity and morality, establishing the periods for the termination of the mandate of elected officials, and addressing other matters.

The Maria da Penha Law (Lei Maria da Penha, Lei No. 11.340, de 7 de Agosto de 2006) created mechanisms to prevent domestic violence against women in accordance with the Federal Constitution (art. 2 § 8), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women. The Law provides for the creation of courts specifically to deal with domestic violence and for the concomitant amendment of the relevant provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Penal Code, and the Penal Execution Law.

The Child and Adolescent Statute (Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente, Lei No. 8069, de 13 de Julho de 1990), provides for the full protection of children and adolescents under the law.