Flávio Dino at the STF



The Supreme Court is too powerful not to be treated as a priority. A mainly political institution

Lula's “rotten finger”, since 2003, when appointing members of the Superior Courts and the Attorney General's Office has long been a political problem and became a laughingstock or drama. Appointing this group is an exclusive competence, a free and sovereign decision of the President of the Republic, as established in article 101 of the Federal Constitution.

This is a method adopted when organizing our Republic, “inspired” by the North American model. There, the Supreme Court of the United States have nine judges. Here are eleven. Without going into historical details or comparative law (which is nowhere near part of my intellectual repertoire), the fact is that our Supreme Court has this, so to speak, DNA.

This means, first of all, the recognition that the Supreme Court (the STF) is a political court, it does not hover over society and its time. Whoever nominates the members of both is whoever won the presidential election in the USA and here. In other words, the representativeness, legitimacy, the strength of the “pen” of a STF Minister are directly derived from the mandate, from the political-electoral representation of whoever placed them there.

In short: the STF has a derived legitimacy. Its social-electoral composition derives from presidential power. In other words, from those who had millions of votes. Therefore, even if some naive idealist decreed this, there is no way.

Every Minister and/or Minister of the STF originates from a solitary stroke of the pen. This cute format of tripartition of powers looks cute, but it works like any and all theories. In other words, in the concrete, in the real inescapable objective of materiality, what moves the levers, in reality, is the correlation of forces between the classes in struggle. In addition, of course, to a bunch of other political-social-ideological-programmatic-economic variables. Infra and superstructural, historical and circumstantial.

Flávio Dino comes from an upper middle class family and a history of political activism. His father was a councilor, state deputy and mayor of tiny João Lisboa (a city in Maranhão with 25 thousand inhabitants). Graduated in law from the Federal University of Maranhão, Dino was a member of the Student Movement (explained rss) and union advisor. He became a federal judge in 1994, placing first in that competition. He presided over the National Association of Federal Judges, AJUFE (2000-2002).

In the 2006 elections he exchanged the toga for the political platform. He became a federal deputy from Maranhão – and soon for the Communist Party of Brazil! He received a stupendous 123.597 votes: 4,3% of the State's total votes. A federal judge who leaves the bench and joins the PCdoB in Maranhão. A State not yet completely freed from the Sarneyzist oligarchy deserves, at the very least, our admiration.

A talented parliamentarian, Flávio Dino never took his foot off the ground. Candidate for mayor of São Luiz in 2008, he lost to João Castelo, an old-time “coroné”. In 2010, he faced the still powerful Roseana Sarney in the 2010 state dispute. Detail: PT and Lula went with the former president's daughter. Our friendly Dino, with his 30% of votes, surpassed the “old progressive”, a traditional Maranhão politician: Jackson Lago, from PDT (20%).

President of Embratur in the Dilma government, Flávio Dino forged a broad alliance in his state. In 2014 he was elected governor of Maranhão. He had 64% of the votes (1.877.065 clicks on the ballot box). In 2018, with 54,3%, he beat Roseana Sarney again and was re-elected governor. He joined the PSB. Re-elected, he was then senator in 2022 – with a “rare” 62,4% of the total votes. There were only 2.125.811 votes cast by the people of Maranhão on his friendly figure in the electronic voting machines.

Why did Lula score a great goal?

Firstly, everything indicates that Lula understood that the STF is primarily a political space and for those with backbone. Example? Ricardo Lewandowski: discreet, prepared, with a backbone, with a side in the political dispute. They say it was recommended by the late Dona Marisa. It would make a lot of sense.

We learned, twenty years later, that the Supreme Court is too powerful not to be treated as a priority. A mainly political institution. Sorry, my lawyer friends, but almost any thesis is defensible. It depends on the situation, the interests at stake, the qualifications of those fighting, the popularity of those in charge.

When Lula nominated Cristiano Zanin, he showed boldness. I celebrated, I think along with most progressives. After all, the young lawyer had shown courage, determination, political commitment, a defender of individual freedoms, therefore, of democracy.

Almost instantly Cristiano Zanin spat in the face of the progressive camp, the PT, and human rights activists. He aligned himself with the most regressive camp of the STF, he sounded and sounds like a Bolshominion. Now, the boy with the glitter in his hair didn't get to the Supreme Court to do that. He didn't even get there because he was a brilliant politician or theorist. His mandate is of a different nature. We, who dreamed of a younger Ricardo Lewandowsky, received, everything indicates, an André Mendonça with a little star on his chest.

When I started writing this article, I didn't know that Ricardo Lewandowsky might take over as head of the Ministry of Justice. Nothing more fair and correct.

“No one will be considered guilty until a final criminal sentence is reached, which, by all evidence, implies a final decision by the higher courts.” It was Ricardo Lewandowsky's position, on October 24, 2019, against arrest in the second instance.

According to Lewandowski, “it is even understandable that some judges want to make this important guarantee of citizens more flexible because they naively believe that this way they will better contribute to combating the endemic corruption and violent crime that plagues the country”.

But, highlights Ricardo Lewandowsky: “They do not always, however, give the same emphasis to other equally serious problems, such as the unacceptable growth of social exclusion, the regrettable increase in unemployment, the unacceptable scrapping of public health and the deplorable crumbling of state education, to cite just a few examples, the solution of which would greatly contribute to the eradication of illicit conduct, especially those practiced by the economically less favored classes”.

The Minister also called the court's previous understanding of the early execution of the sentence “regrettable”. “Based on this precarious and ephemeral understanding of the STF, a large number of arrests began to be decreed, after the rendering of second instance decisions, automatically, without any suitable justification, with simple reference to summaries or judgments, in clear violation to the provisions of article 5 of the CF”, explained the giant Lewandowsky.

By nominating Flávio Dino, Lula places a giant political picture in the STF – someone who accumulates formal knowledge, experience, courage, pragmatism and ideological loyalty. Go, Dino! We're together!

* Julian Rodrigues, journalist and teacher, is a PT militant and an activist in the LGBTI and Human Rights movement.

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