From Lula to Hannah Arendt: the suspect STF formula – 07/04/2023

Upon his return from China, President Lula will nominate a minister to the STF (Federal Supreme Court), the highest body of Brazilian Justice, guardian of our democratic Constitution.

It is of the essence of a Court of Justice, anywhere on the planet, to be unsuspecting, impartial.

In mythology, “Justitia”, a Roman goddess, was imagined with a blindfold on her eyes, conveying the idea of ​​impartiality, that is, saying and imposing justice. Themis, the Greek goddess, did not have blindness, but a keen sense of fairness and impartiality.

Without impartial judges there is no equal treatment is fair.

Any citizen knows this and, in the field of ethics, as the Greek philosophers stressed, “it was better to suffer an injustice than to commit it”.

Only totalitarian minds and regimes impose on judges and courts the will that suits them. Also would-be autocrats act in this way.

In Poland, Duda imposed the Judiciary system of his convenience and the European Union did not accept it. In Israel, Netanyahu, in his own interest, wants to reduce the powers and impose limitations on the Supreme Court and judges.

Bolsonaro, when president, wanted to make the STF an appendix of the Executive.

Bolsonaro wanted to set up a bench in the STF to call his own. He even declared that he would call his ministers to take tubaína and give them instructions.

For a demobilized head like Bolsonaro’s, the ministers chosen by him to the STF would be a kind of “order assistants”, like the Cid colonels in his then cabinet.

In other words, Bolsonaro’s misgovernment wanted obedient ministers, without the commitment to say the current law and to administer justice to the nation state.

During his re-election campaign, Bolsonaro said he would transform the STF.

In government, he considered establishing, in order to control, a mandate for ministers of the STF, with a short term. He withdrew when he learned of the ministers’ tenure due to —or rather, the impossibility of removing them.

Until the mandatory retirement age is reduced again, with a return to 70 years of age, Bolsonaro considered.

For him, the goal was to make the STF an instance to declare what was convenient for him. And he pulled out of his hat a Kassio Nunes Marques, a former federal judge who had not been elected. Also the obedient and terribly evangelical André Mendonça.

Lula, to nominate the open vacancy in the STF, puts personal friendship as a priority. Now, our procedural laws place intimate friendship as a partiality factor. And the presidential interest, even if it is not part of the process, can arise as an event that compromises the constitutional system of checks and balances: here comes the phenomenon of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction issues for the STF to decide.

Attention. An alternative to Lula’s favorite —who is the lawyer Cristiano Zanin, and he meets the requirements of legal knowledge and unblemished reputation— causes, to use a popular saying, the situation of “the worst amendment than the sonnet”.

The minister who just said goodbye, Ricardo Lewandowski, dared and innovated by suggesting the name of his replacement.

Deep down, Lewandowski’s guarantee, a faithful and card-carrying Lula, is aimed at influencing. Lewandowski did not shy away from, still in the chair, suggesting his successor.

If Lewandowski had consulted the annals of the STF, he would have come across a lesson from his colleague, that is to say: candidates do not offer themselves and, once chosen, they do not decline the honor.

As can be seen, Lula intends to follow Bolsonaro and is heading towards setting up a STF with judges suspected of partiality.

At this time, it would be very useful to find out about the writings of Hannah Arendt, of Jewish origin and coiner of the expression “the banality of evil”.

Hannah Arendt was hired by the New Yorker magazine to cover the trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.

In a tight summary, he concluded that the trial was not impartial, neither in the District Court nor in the Court of Appeals.

Justice was not done. The cuts were partial. Courts of the winners of World War II.

Eichmann, there is no doubt, was a cog in the abject cogs of the so-called “Final Solution”, coined by the Nazis to eliminate the Hebrew-Jewish people from the face of the earth.

An ad hoc tribunal (for the act) could not be set up. Even more: in the face of consummate barbarism and insensitivity, to typify, after the attempt to eliminate the entire Jewish people, a criminal suit called “crimes against humanity”: the definition was elaborated by a Polish Jew.

Arendt left several questions. Some still open today. But an answer to everything, even the obvious one, was clear: that is, the courts exist to do justice.

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