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Article Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Rules That Armed Forces Are Not a 'Moderating Power' Between Branches of Government

On April 8, 2024, the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil, by unanimous decision, ruled that the Brazilian Constitution does not allow the Armed Forces to play the role of “moderating power” between the executive, legislative, and judiciary powers in the country. The decision was in response to a Direct Unconstitutionality Action (Ação Direta de Inconstitucionalidade – ADI 6457) filed by the Democratic Labor Party (Partido Democrático Trabalhista, PDT).

In his vote, the rapporteur, minister Luiz Fux, stated that it is not appropriate to interpret article 142 of the Federal Constitution as allowing the military to interfere with the powers of the three branches of government or intervene in the relationship between them, and that “[e]ntrusting this mission to the Armed Forces would violate the essential clause of the separation of powers, granting them, ultimately and in practice, the power to resolve even interpretative conflicts regarding the Constitution’s norms.”

Article 142 of the constitution states that “[t]he Armed Forces, made up of the Navy, Army, and Air Force, are permanent and regular national institutions, organized on the basis of hierarchy and discipline, under the supreme authority of the President of the Republic, and intended to defend the Nation, guarantee the constitutional branches of government and, on the initiative of any of these branches, law and order.” (Constitutição Federal art. 142.)

The hypothesis of the moderating power of the Armed Forces had been promoted by former President Jair Bolsonaro to justify a possible military intervention in the event of conflicts between the executive, legislative, and judiciary.

Eduardo Soares, Law Library of Congress
April 26, 2024

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Chicago citation style:

Soares, Eduardo. Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Rules That Armed Forces Are Not a 'Moderating Power' Between Branches of Government. 2024. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-04-25/brazil-federal-supreme-court-rules-that-armed-forces-are-not-a-moderating-power-between-branches-of-government/.

APA citation style:

Soares, E. (2024) Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Rules That Armed Forces Are Not a 'Moderating Power' Between Branches of Government. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-04-25/brazil-federal-supreme-court-rules-that-armed-forces-are-not-a-moderating-power-between-branches-of-government/.

MLA citation style:

Soares, Eduardo. Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Rules That Armed Forces Are Not a 'Moderating Power' Between Branches of Government. 2024. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-04-25/brazil-federal-supreme-court-rules-that-armed-forces-are-not-a-moderating-power-between-branches-of-government/>.