Alexandre Moraes Confirmed For Supreme Court Vacancy
Feb 23, 2017 08:10 PM EST
Brazil's Senate has confirmed on Wednesday that President Michel Temer's justice minister, Alexandre Moraes, will fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. The appointment appears to be controversial due to the ongoing corruption allegations among cabinet ministers and ruling party leaders.
Alexandre Moraes, a law professor, lawyer and former public security secretary of Sao Paulo state, was approved for the Supreme Court vacancy on a 55-to-13 vote. The 49-year-old vowed to remain "impartial" when judging corruption cases involving his former cabinet colleagues or Temer himself.
However, leftist senators opposed his appointment to protect Temer's government from the sprawling "Carwash" investigation that has severely threatened Brazil's political establishment. Seven members from Temer's cabinet, including the president himself have been named in plea bargain testimony by defendants in Brazil's biggest corruption scandal, and these ministers could end up on trial before the Supreme Court if convicted, according to Brazzil.
Moraes declined to say if he would recuse himself if the Supreme Court eventually judges a case involving the allegedly illegal campaign funding of the successful 2014 presidential campaign ticket, when Temer was the vice president to the now-impeached President Dilma Rousseff. It is the critics view that he should recuse himself in any cases that come before the Supreme Court, given his extremely close ties to the people who may be put on trial before the court.
During the confirmation process for the Supreme Court vacancy, Moraes has refuted several claims concerning himself, which includes denying local media reports that accused him of plagiarizing a Spanish jurist in one of his law books. According to Reuters, he also refuted claims from some senators that said his law firm in Sao Paulo defended a transportation firm linked to Brazil's largest drug gang, the First Command of the Capital, known as the PCC.
Moraes is taking over Justice Teori Zavascki's seat in the Supreme Court, who died from a minor plane crash last month. Zavascki was presiding over "Operation Carwash" and was widely respected for his work on the highly politicized investigations.