The Antonin Scalia of the Tropics

Brazil has an Antonin Scalia of its own.

His name is Gilmar Mendes, and his conduct on a number of occasions cannot but seem shocking to the outside observer.

Unless, of course, that observer happens to be Italian.

In recent years, Mendes has been doggedly pursued by reporter Leandro Fortes of Carta Capital magazine.

Fortes has publicly questioned, for example, the propriety of Mendes serving as an active partner in a legal education service that was not only marketed to attorneys who practice before the Supreme Court but also employed active-duty deputy attorneys general, or the equivalent.

Oh, and did I mention that the building where the school operates was built with a federal loan from which the Justice benefited directly, according to records produced by Fortes?

Vio o Mundo, the personal samizdat project of TV Record journalist Rodrigo Vianna, notes another peculiarity in the justice’s professional conduct.

José Sarney (PMDB), president of the Brazilian Senate, has ordered the bill of impeachment against former Supreme Court Chief Justice Gilmar Mendes be tabled.

Sarney followed the advice of his legal advisor, Alberto Caiscais, and Senate Counsel, José Alexandre Lima Gazineo, who, if we can cut through the jargon, found not foundation at all for the impeachment petition simply because it was based on a press report

They saw nothing wrong with the Justice staying as a guest at the home of attorney Sergio Bermudes, taking his wife on a trip paid by Sergio Bermudes, or having his wife employed at Sergio Bermudes’ law offices in Brasília – all of which constitute impeachable conduct:

“Clearly, the speculative character of merely pointing to a friendship between the Justice and an attorney is not a prima facie reason to install a constitutional process with grave implications for the stability and credibility of the Courrt, such as an impeachment trial” – the opinion read.

But this was no mere friendship, my friends. Travel abroad, hospitality …

And a cushy job for the Mrs.  Continue reading

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