Developments in Brazilian Constitutional Law: The Year 2016 in Review
In: Albert, Richard; Landau, David, Faraguna, Pietro; Drugda, Simon, 2016 Global Review of Constitutional Law // I-CON - International Journal of Constitutional Law, 2017.
5 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2017 Last revised: 16 Jan 2018
Date Written: March 4, 2017
2016 was certainly one of the most turbulent years in the still young democratic life in Brazil. In this year, Brazil went through a traumatic impeachment trial against President Rousseff; the speaker of the Lower House was removed from office and later arrested on corruption charges; and the speaker of the Senate has been indicted on charges of embezzlement and removed from the presidential line of succession. It would be naive to assume that the storm would not hit the Supreme Court. If, in Brazil, there was already a tendency towards the judicialization of politics, in times of crisis this inclination has become even more clear. Throughout the year, the Court was called upon to intervene in several core political, economic, and social controversies. Taking the position as arbiter of national disputes, it was nonetheless thrust into the heart of the crisis. This paper examines the main developments in Brazilian constitutional law in 2016, focusing on the main controversies that reached the Supreme Court and how this court has dealt with this increasing influence in Brazilian life while still being marked by longstanding design flaws that have impaired its role.
Keywords: Supreme Court, Brazil, Impeachment, Political Crisis, Institutional Design, Constitutional Court
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