Federal University of Minas Gerais

Posts by authors affiliated with Federal University of Minas Gerais

04 July 2023
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Bolsonaro Faces the Rule of Law

On 30 June 2023, the Brazilian Electoral Superior Court ruled that former President Jair Bolsonaro is disqualified from running for any electoral position for the next eight years. Although there are fifteen other electoral actions brought against Bolsonaro by other political parties or by public electoral prosecutors, most of which refer to accusations of attempting to compromise the integrity of the 2022 elections, this was the first case to reach Brazil’s highest electoral court. Despite there being a precedent, the ruling is not a legal innovation, but the mere application of existing laws.

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08 May 2023
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Accountability in Brazil

The end of Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency is far from marking a return to normality in Brazil. After the riots of 8 January, which aimed to create the conditions for a coup in Brazil, authorities and institutions had to deal with several turbulences and the issue of Bolsonaro's responsibilization has been a permanent concern. To evaluate the efficacy of these responses, it is important to discuss how these institutions have been dealing with Jair Bolsonaro’s legacy. Moreover, it is equally important to understand the challenges President Lula is facing, which are partly due to the difficulty to reach political compromises. The recent police raids that seized documents and devices in Bolsonaro’s house, and arrested some of his direct aids, adds complexity to the situation, as we will attempt to explain.

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09 January 2023

Political Terror in the Shade of Bolsonarism

The attacks of Bolsonarist supporters on democracy and the rule of law in Brazil have reached an extent that has never been witnessed in Brazil since the promulgation of the Constitution of 1988. On 8 January 2023, emulating the events of 6 January 2020 in the USA, a mob of 3,000 Bolsonaro supporters invaded and destroyed the buildings of the National Congress, the Federal Supreme Court, and the Presidency of the Republic in Brazil, which are all located in the famous quarter known as the “Three Branches Square”. In a way, the invasion of the US Capitol has been more tragic, given that human lives have been lost. But there is a sense in which the assault in Brazil was more devastating from a symbolic point of view.

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06 November 2022

Brazilian Presidential Elections Results

On the 30th of October 2022, Brazilian citizens typed the electronic ballots to choose the president for the next four years' term in the runoff between Jair Bolsonaro and Luís Inácio Lula da Silva. The very close results mirrored the radical polarization that has been haunting the country for at least the last ten years. Lula received 50.9% of the valid votes, whereas Bolsonaro was chosen by 49.1% of the electors. At the time of this writing, Bolsonaro has not conceded.

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05 October 2022

Sham and Smokescreen

Since 27 April 2022, Hungary has been under the Rule of Law conditionality mechanism, introduced by the Conditionality Regulation. After various debates and considerations, and in the light of the blackmailing potential of the Hungarian prime minister, the Regulation, in a weaker form than initially proposed, works as a preventive tool for ensuring the protection of the EU budget and sound financial management of EU resources. The Hungarian government has a record of misleading (and betraying) the European Union, and apparently, it is not different now.

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22 August 2022

Academic Roles, Political Freedoms, and Practical Abilities

There is no general reason to suppose that constitutional law scholars should refrain from engaging in politics, and I think that a scholar’s motivation to achieve a certain political goal does not affect the value, quality, or credibility of the conclusions of her inquiry. Moreover, the austere research ethics underlying the arguments of Komárek and Khaitan imposes on constitutional law scholars a set of role obligations that are in tension with some dispositions and epistemic attitudes that are often necessary to be a competent scholar in value-laden disciplines like political philosophy and constitutional law.

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24 June 2022
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Courts and Cannabis Sativa for Medical Purposes in Brazil

The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice – not the Federal Supreme Court – had recently decided that planting and transporting cannabis sativa aiming at extracting oil for medical ends shall not be treated as a crime. Contrary to the recent allegations of judicial activism made by President Jair Bolsonaro against the Brazilian judiciary, the Superior Court of Justice ruling is a good example of a decision based on the 1988 Constitution, the statutory law referred to in the case and several other authorities contributions, which all helped to construct the court’s arguments, as this post will show.

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05 November 2021
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A Portrait of Bolsonaro’s Crimes Against Humanity

On 26 October 2021, after six months of investigative procedures, a legislative inquiry committee in the Brazilian Senate presented a report charging President Jair Bolsonaro (along with some of his most committed supporters) not only with impeachable conducts, but also with ordinary crimes and possible crimes against humanity. Although it is unlikely that the committee’s report will trigger impeachment or lead to a criminal indictment of Bolsonaro before the end of his term, it has already played a fundamental truth-finding role.

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09 August 2021
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Courts are Finally Standing up to Bolsonaro

The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court had long tried to find ways to domesticate President Bolsonaro’s most savage instincts. The failure of this soft approach became evident last week, as Bolsonaro’s personal attacks against justices of the Supreme Court escalated. Both the Federal Supreme Court and the Electoral Superior Court have launched procedures against the President.

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07 July 2021

The EU Cannot Save Us

Many EU and comparative constitutional law scholars have condemned the Polish and Hungarian governments and urged the EU to address the democratic decay and the rule of law deterioration in Poland and Hungary. When the EU fails to deliver, they harshly criticize them and put forward reform proposals. In substance, I agree with much of that. Nevertheless, I would put forward two arguments. The first is that we should be realistic about what we expect these reforms could achieve. The second is that constitutionalists should stop urging the EU to crack down on Poland and Hungary. Instead, they should focus on helping the resilient factors within these countries.

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