Lula made a storm out of a glass of poison by declaring last month that “everyone would understand” if he accommodated his pet criminal lawyer Cristiano Zanin in an armchair of the Federal Supreme Court, whom he defined as “the great legal revelation of recent years”. By so clearly expressing a preference, Lula stirred up his own allies, who are pressing for the nomination of a preferably black woman, for the vacancy of retired Ricardo Lewandowski.
“It’s no use planting names, trying to sell a candidate through the press,” Lula scolded this Thursday, ignoring the fact that he was the one who inaugurated the plantation. “This is not how you choose a Supreme Court justice,” he said over breakfast with journalists. On the grounds that he would not like to stamp the chosen future, he refused to say whether he will be black, female or male.
If chosen by Lula, Zanin will inherit the pending drawer in Lewandowski’s office. This includes proceedings remaining from Lava Jato. It also includes PCdoB action against the State-owned Law. By voting, Lewandowski overturned articles that prevented politicians from assuming management positions in public companies such as Petrobras. The trial was suspended due to a request for a review by André Mendonça. Appointed, Zanin would have to report any resources. He would also inherit the case of a lawyer —Rodrigo Tacla Duran — who accuses Sergio Moro of extortion during the investigations of the petrolão.
Lula was returned to the Presidency by popular vote. The Constitution gives him powers to appoint ministers to the Supreme Court. He can choose whoever he wants, as long as the preferred person is a native Brazilian, over 35 years old and under 75 years old, exhibits remarkable legal knowledge and boasts an unblemished reputation. The eventual choice of Zanin would, in theory, be formally certain. In politics, however, there is no mistake more common than mistaking a certain person for the right person.
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