The proposal for secret votes by ministers of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) presented this Tuesday (5) by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), was questioned by experts. Heard by Brasil de Fato, lawyer Nuredin Ahmad Allan, member of the national executive of the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy (ABJD), said that the idea would represent “clearly a setback”.
Lula made the suggestion during the Conversation with the President program, carried out by government communications. Interviewed by journalist Marcos Uchôa in the company of the Minister of Education, Camilo Santana, Lula said that “if he could give advice”, it would be through a secret vote. The objective, according to the president, would be to reduce risks to the integrity of the Supreme Court ministers themselves.
“For us not to create animosity, I think we needed to start thinking about whether this is the way for us to change what is happening in Brazil. As things stand, soon a Supreme Court minister will no longer be able to go out on the street , you can’t go out with your family anymore, because there’s a guy who didn’t like his decision”, he said.
Nuredin Ahmad Allan said that democracy depends on transparency, that economic power exerts a lot of pressure on the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary, and, therefore, it is important that agents of power take responsibility for their decisions – even if they are positions legally defensible.
“This is a democratic achievement of modern society: to understand differently is to return to absolutely outdated models. It doesn’t seem to me that there can be a plausible justification for this to be defended in the political, legal and constitutional order. In the model of society that we intend, that we desire , this cannot have space”, stated the lawyer.
Jurist Jorge Luiz Souto Maior, judge of the Regional Labor Court of the 15th Region and professor of Labor Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of São Paulo (USP), made scathing criticisms of the president’s speech and said that the speech was “inappropriate “.
“The basic guarantee of citizenship, conferred by the Rule of Law, is the publicity of jurisdictional acts and the justification of decisions, so that no one suffers coercion from the State without the establishment of ‘due legal process’, even establishing a structuring of responsibilities in which, above all, those to whom society grants powers are integrated. The powers exercised by magistrates, heads of the Executive or legislators are not absolute, especially because absolutism is precisely the regime surpassed by the democratic order. In the Rule of Law These professionals perform their functions in accordance with the limits established in the legal order”, he wrote on his blog.
Who also criticized Lula’s proposal was former STF minister Marco Aurélio Mello. Retired in 2021 after completing 31 years in office, he was heard by CNN Brasil and said that Lula committed a “failure” when speaking on the topic.
“The keynote of public administration is publicity. It is what reveals the accountability to taxpayers step by step and the monitoring by the mainstream press. The Judiciary is a species of the public administration genre. There is, therefore, no way to consider it a mystery “, said the former minister.
‘It wouldn’t be doable’
To Brasil de Fato, Nuredin Ahmad Allan said that the country’s legal system would not allow the proposal to be taken forward. The expert recalls that there are several constitutional assumptions that talk about the publicity of acts and transparency.
“It would not be something feasible within the system that exists in Brazil today, and I also say that it would not be advisable. Transparency in decisions and conduct is fundamental for us to achieve the status of a country with a high level of democracy”, he highlighted.
The Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, consulted on the topic, said that he sees the debate as “valid”, but that it is not something “for tomorrow”. To the newspaper O Globo, the minister also said that Brazil could model itself on the United States Supreme Court.
“In fact, there is a debate in the world about the way the Supreme Courts deliberate. We have a reference in the Supreme Court of the United States, which deliberates like this. It deliberates based on individual votes and the Court’s position is communicated and not the individual position of this or that judge”, the minister told the newspaper.
For Allan, comparisons between legal systems in different countries, forged in different ways, are “delicate and complicated”. He recalls, for example, that in the United States, political lobbying is carried out openly, under regulation, unlike what happens in Brazil.
Read more: What is the STF and what are the similarities and differences in relation to other courts around the world
“This comparison of cases, in a more objective or more simplistic way, does not seem reasonable and appropriate to me. I cannot take these two Supreme Courts and make comparisons as if they were at the end or at the top of a chain of a system organically built in the same way. They are systems built in absolutely different ways”, he concluded.
Editing: Thalita Pires