“Yo, el Supremo”; or “The Toffoli Factor”: a Cautionary Tale From Brazil

The proliferation of decisions taken by individual STF Justices, together with other collective decisions, may imperil the separation of powers in Brazil and the Court's status as an independent branch of government.

Opinion, by Michael Royster

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – In 1974, Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos published a novel, whose title in English was “I, the Supreme”.  The book’s central character, a 19th century dictator, refers to himself as “El Supremo”, and believes himself to be above all power and history: "I don't write history. I make it. I can remake it as I please…”

Fast forward to present-day Brasília, where the actions of Supreme Court (STF) Justices have called into question the legitimacy of the Court to be Brazil’s final arbiter of justice . . .

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