The resignation of Supreme Court Justice Joaquim Barbosa and the need to begin the process of choosing his replacement has shed light on the lack of transparency and social participation in Supreme Court nominations. Currently, the appointment of justices to the highest court of law in Brazil is the sole preserve of the Executive and the Senate, which are responsible, respectively, for nominating and approving the candidates.
Nearly 50 organizations engaged in the democratization of the Judiciary have called on President Dilma Rousseff to regulate this process. In an open letter published on Monday (September 15), they requested the creation of a public call for applications, followed by the publication of the list of candidates, open consultation and the preparation and release of a report justifying the final choice. The nominee would then face a confirmation hearing in the Senate with the participation of society.
“We believe that commitment to human rights, gender perspective and race should be key criteria in the President’s choice, together with transparency, social participation and democratic procedures, for all Higher Court nominations,” reads an excerpt from the document.
In April 2013, in an attempt to expose the lack of participation, the JusDh (Justice and Human Rights Group), of which Conectas is part, sent a list of 11 questions to the Senators responsible for confirming the nomination of Luis Roberto Barroso to fill the position left by former court justice Carlos Ayres Britto. Directly or indirectly, 7 of the questions were put to the candidate.
In the most recent process to appoint a Supreme Court justice, in 2012, the organizations used the Freedom of Information Law (Law No. 12,527) to request information on the candidates being considered and the selection criteria used.
Click here to read the letter in full