By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – As the highest court of the land prepares to analyze Brazil’s greatest corruption graft, President Michel Temer nominates his Justice Minister and close ally Alexandre de Moraes to fill the seat of Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki, who was killed in a plane crash last month.
Reaction to the nomination came almost immediately, with many criticizing the choice as a solution found by the President to end corruption allegations against members of his administration.
“The nomination is questionable. The Minister has very close ties with the Temer government, obviously, and he will be directly linked to the Lava Jato investigations. He is friends of those he will have to judge. Hopefully the Senate will be able to conduct a thorough review during the confirmation process,” said congressional representative Chico Alencar on a video in his social media.
Critics argue that Moraes has not had a position in the upper courts of the Justice system, limiting himself to occupy positions in the São Paulo state government.
According to them, Moraes has close ties to both the federal government’s PMDB party and is part of São Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin’s PSDB party, both parties which have many members being accused in the Lava Jato investigation.
If that weren’t enough, critics argue that in the past Moraes has defended that officers of the Executive office not occupy a seat in the Supreme Court so as not to compromise the independence of the court.
Nonetheless, Temer supporters say the choice was correct and that Moraes has all the qualifications to perform the duties of the most important court officers in the land.
“Alexandre de Moraes’s strong academic and professional credentials qualify him for this high responsibility as the Supreme Court Minister in Brazil,” President’s spokesman Alexandre Parola told journalists on Monday after the announcement.
According to government news sources, one of Moraes’s biggest supporters was Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes, who allegedly pushed for his appointment with President Temer.