Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced Monday that he would nominate Justice Minister Flávio Dino to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Federal Court (STF) left by then-Chief Justice Rosa Weber, who reached mandatory retirement age last month.
Dino has served as governor of the state of Maranhão and has been a federal judge, among other positions.
Lula sent the President of the Federal Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), the nominations of Flávio Dino for the position of Minister of the Federal Supreme Court and Paulo Gonet for the position of Attorney General of the Republic, the president's team wrote on social media.
As head of the Justice Ministry, Dino oversaw the Federal Police and the Federal Highway Police, intelligence against organized crime, and national prisons.
Dino's appointment is said to have the support of almost all STF judges, which would bring Lula's government closer to the court. He is also seen as a strong ally who will not disappoint the executive in his work as a judge and will remain faithful to progressive issues, reducing the chances of the current administration suffering judicial setbacks.
However, Lula's choice has been controversial due to his closeness to Dino who was deeply involved in recent investigations against former President Jair Bolsonaro. Even left-wing activists and jurists considered to be closer to Lula would have preferred a black woman for the STF, as such a profile has never been represented at the top of the judiciary. If the Senate confirms Dino's appointment, the Supreme Court will have ten men and only one woman. Lula said that he was not looking for race or gender, but rather someone who would vote properly without pressure from the media. Dino must now be confirmed by the Senate, where he has also had a seat.
This is Lula's second appointment to the Supreme Court in his third term and the second controversial one, after his personal lawyer Cristiano Zanin.
It is not wise, it is not democratic, for a President of the Republic to want to have ministers of the Supreme Court as friends. I believe that the Supreme Court must be chosen on the basis of competence and curriculum, not friendship, Lula had said during a campaign debate.
Flávio Dino's hearing before the Senate's Judicial Commission (CCJ) will take place on Dec. 13 and will be chaired by a senator from Maranhão. Dino needs a simple majority of votes within the committee and, if successful, the support of at least 41 of the 81 senators.
Dino is said not to be on good terms with Maranhão Senator Weverton Rocha, who was chosen as rapporteur in his nomination.