On Monday (12/09), Supreme Federal Court (STF) Minister Rosa Weber, took over as the president of the institution. Nevertheless, her term will not last the usual two years, she will only stay in the position until October 2023, when she will become 75 years old and reach the mandatory retirement age for public servants. On the same day that she took office, she ordered the Federal Police to continue with the preliminary investigations regarding how Bolsonaro and the former Health Minister, Eduardo Pazuello, faced the Covid-19 pandemic. The investigations will be made before the STF analyses the request by the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) to dismiss the case.

Weber’s Profile

Rosa Weber is originally from Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul state. She joined the labor judiciary in 1976 as a substitute judge at the Regional Labor Court of the 4th Region, a court she presided over from 2001 to 2003. In 2004 she joined the Superior Labor Court, where she remained until she was sworn in as a Minister of the STF in December 2011, after being appointed to the Supreme Court by then-President Dilma Rousseff. From 2018 to 2020, she was the President of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).

Recent Actions

In the past two years, Weber conducted controversial actions such as the rapporteur’s amendments, which became known as the “secret budget“, due to the lack of transparency and balance in the indication of budgetary resources by congressmen, and the questioning of the pardon granted by Jair Bolsonaro to Congressman Daniel Silveira. On Wednesday (14/09), she confirmed that she will remain as the rapporteurs of these two actions, as well as the decriminalization of abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy. According to the Supreme Court’s regulations, the minister who takes over the presidency passes on the cases from his office to the minister who has left the command of the court. The new president, however, can choose which cases he wants to keep under her rapporteurship.

Near Future

Despite the past friction with the Federal Government, Weber is considered a discrete Minister, without close proximity to the political class. Thus, it is expected that STF may cool down its relationship with other powers. But this distance between the Judiciary and other powers may also be seen as challenge for an efficient dialogue. Following this reasoning, analysts expect that sensitive themes should stay untouched until this year’s elections are concluded. However, her decision to keep some specific topics under her responsibility may indicate that she intends to judge them until her retirement in October 2023.

Her Position

In her inauguration speech, she mentioned that the country is going through “disturbing times” in its institutional life and that the STF has been the target of unfair attacks. She also defended the Brazilian electoral process, which, according to her, has been a target of frequent and unfounded criticism from President Jair Bolsonaro. Weber praised the Brazilian people for enduring “[..] the violence, the lack of security, the frightening level of hunger, the thousands of homeless on our streets, the environmental degradation, and the pandemic […]”. Bolsonaro was not present in the ceremony, that since 1993 have always counted with the presence of the Chief of the Executive Power. 

Bolsonaro’s Covid-19 Investigation Must Go On

The order for the Federal Police to continue with the investigations about Bolsonaro and Pazuello was made after a request of a Parliamentary Investigation Comission (CPI da Covid). According to them, Bolsonaro committed 9 crimes, but the PGR required the closure of the process due to the lack of evidence of irregular practices. According to the Minister, the Judiciary can only prevent measures aimed at obtaining evidence if it sees illegality in the investigation, and for Weber, this is not the case.

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