After weeks of verbal attacks, President Jair Bolsonaro decided to resort to institutional channels in his battle against Supreme Federal Court (STF) minister Alexandre de Moraes and Luís Roberto Barroso, the latter also president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE). Target of three inquiries in the STF, the agent announced through his social networks this Saturday that next week he will bring to the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG), “a request to institute a process on both, according to art. 52 of the Federal Constitution”. He refers to the article that governs, among other things, the impeachment, both of the President of the Republic and of STF ministers. The idea of impeachment of a STF minister is not new among pocketnaristas, but it is the first time the president has formally considered it in public.
Bolsonaro’s demonstration comes a day after the arrest of former deputy Roberto Jefferson, the president’s recent histrionic ally. President of the PTB, Jefferson was detained on the order of Alexandre de Moraes in one of the investigations resulting from investigations into anti-democratic acts, which was aimed at pocketnarists. Among Bolsonaro’s supporters, the warning sounded that more allies of the Government could be arrested, as had already happened with Deputy Daniel Silveira (PSL-RJ). “The Brazilian people will not passively accept that fundamental rights and guarantees (art. 5 of the Federal Constitution), such as freedom of expression, continue to be violated and punished with arbitrary arrests, precisely by those who should defend them”, wrote Bolsonaro in this Saturday following tweets in which he announced the decision to represent against the STF ministers..
The president also makes a direct mention to Moraes: I remember that, on the occasion of his hearing in the Senate, Mr. Alexandre de Moraes declared: ‘I reaffirm my independence, my commitment to the Constitution, and my devotion to INDIVIDUAL FREEDOMS’.” The highlight in capital letters is by Bolsonaro himself. The president’s relationship with the STF had already been shaken since his supporters began to defend, sometimes encouraged by Bolsonaro himself, measures such as the closure of the Supreme Court or a military intervention – a possibility with which Bolsonaro himself constantly flirts, as in the case of the tank parade on the Esplanade of Ministries this week. Frictions worsened after the president began to publicly attack the country’s electoral system, doubting the safety of the electronic ballot box.
The doubts raised by the president were answered by the STF with the opening of two investigations at the request of the president of the TSE, Barroso. The person responsible for the investigation in which the investigations are taking place is Alexandre de Moraes. They are both, therefore, Bolsonaro’s biggest opponents on the court today. The president specifically accused Moraes of playing outside the four lines of the Constitution and, in his own way, left one more threat in the air: “So the antidote for that is not within the four lines of the Constitution either.” When announcing an action, however, the president appeals to the Constitution. The frictions led the president of the STF, Luiz Fux, to cancel a meeting to calm the spirits between the three powers. On the occasion, Fux made a scathing speech: “When you reach one of the members of the STF, you reach the court in its entirety”.
The possibility of impeachment of a Supreme Court president is quite remote. In a recent interview with EL PAÍS, USP law professor Conrado Hübner said that “the request for impeachment by the STF minister is a very dangerous bomb”. “The only external mechanism left in the Brazilian Constitution [para interferir no STF] it’s this almost fictitious idea of impeachment, because it never happened, and it’s an instrument very prone to abuse”, he commented, noting that this idea used to be something very unusual, but “in the last two years, at least two dozen have been joined” of requests in the Senate. “It has to be a very flagrant case of violation of the law, it needs a lot of consensus, because it is something more delicate than the impeachment of any other minister or even the president,” he concluded.
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The president of the Senate did not comment on the intention announced by Bolsonaro. But her colleague Simone Tebet (MDB-MS) replied, hinting at the impeachment of the president: “Is the President really going to ask the Senate to impeach STF ministers? Anyone who asks to hit ‘Chico’, who lives in Inciso II, article 52, of the Federal Constitution, forgets that ‘Francisco’ lives in Inciso I, from the same address”. O senador Alessandro Vieira (Cidadania-SE) também criticou em seu perfil no Twitter o anúncio de Bolsonaro: “Ministros do STF podem e devem ser investigados por fatos concretos, mas o tal pedido de impeachment que Bolsonaro pretende apresentar contra Barroso e Moraes é só + a smokescreen to try to hide the sea of common crimes and responsibility that the PR itself [presidente] committed”.
On social networks with profiles favorable to the president, Bolsonaro seems to have achieved the desired effect. “PR Bolsonaro will take to the Senate the impeachment request of Ministers Barroso and Alexandre de Moraes. Then yes, President!”, wrote deputy Carlos Jordy (PSL-RJ). “It is not possible for senators to watch and passively accept all these unconstitutional acts and attacks on institutions and do nothing. Congratulations on your posture!”, added the congressman. Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL-SP) joined the choir. “President Bolsonaro will take the President of the Senate Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG) next week to request the impeachment of Barroso and Alexandre de Moraes, as provided for in art. 52 of the Constitution. The basis for the request is continued violations of freedoms such as expression,” he wrote.
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