Brazil's Lula picks his justice minister for supreme court slot – The Associated Press

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FILE – Justice and Public Security Ministry nominee Flavio Dino attends a press conference where Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced some of his cabinet appointments at his transition team’s headquarters in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 9 2022. Dino has just been appointed to Brazil´s supreme court on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Ton Molina, File)
SAO PAULO (AP) — President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil said Monday that he chose Justice Minister Flávio Dino to fill an empty seat on the country’s top court.
Many allies of the leftist leader hoped he would pick another woman to replace Minister Rosa Maria Weber, who stepped down in September after turning 75, the age limit for the nation’s Supreme Federal Court justices. Weber’s departure as chief justice left one remaining female jurist on the 11-person court.
The Brazilian Senate is expected to vote before the end of the year on Dino’s nomination, which requires a simple majority for confirmation.
Dino, 55, governed the impoverished state of Maranhão between 2015 and 2023 before becoming Lula’s justice minister. He is a former federal judge and was seen for many years as one of the most vocal adversaries of former President Jair Bolsonaro.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dino imposed curfews and movement restrictions that angered the far-right leader.

As justice minister, he has also been one of the most visible members of Lula’s Cabinet. Dino worked to increase security at schools and crack down on the incitement of violence as officials sought to curb a wave of fatal school attacks.
He also led efforts to jail Bolsonaro supporters who trashed government buildings in Brasilia on Jan. 8.
Legal analysts saw Lula’s nomination of Dino as further evidence of the Supreme Court’s political polarization. Bolsonaro and and former President Michel Temer also picked their justice ministers to sit on the court.
Dino said in his social medial channels that he was “immensely honored” by the president’s decision.
“From now on, I will dialogue to seek the honorable support of fellow senators. I am grateful for the prayers and the demonstrations of care and solidarity,” he said.
Sen. Flávio Bolsonaro, a son of the former president, said on his social media channels that “the Senate has the moral obligation of rejecting the name of the persecutor of politicians, Dino, to the Supreme Court.”
Bolsonaro-allied senators, which include about a third of Brazil’s Senate, are expected to work against Dino’s confirmation.
Dino will be the second Supreme Court justice appointed by Lula in his third term in the presidency. Cristiano Zanin, once the leftist leader’s lawyer, was approved to join the court in July by 58-18 votes in the Senate.
Lula said he also has appointed a new prosecutor-general, Paulo Gustavo Gonet. The 62-year-old is currently a deputy electoral prosecutor-general.
Lula, who in previous terms picked the top candidate from a “triple list” made by federal prosecutors to be his prosecutor-general, disregarded their recommendation this time.
Gonet is regarded among his peers as a conservative. He has written articles against abortion and urged the government to act against it. His appointment also requires Senate confirmation.
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