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Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Traditionally, the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) was largely exempt from political machinations. Appointments were made based on professional and ethical qualifications. That tradition died a horrible death in 2009 when President Lula appointed José Antonio Dias Toffoli to Brazil’s highest court.

Toffoli had only one “qualification” that mattered to Lula: his unswerving support for PT and all its members. He had no experience as a judge, his courtroom experience was limited to appearing as PT’s chief lawyer during three of Lula’s presidential campaigns. In 2003 he became the right . . .

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