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Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais

Print version ISSN 0102-6909

Abstract

OLIVEIRA, Fabiana Luci de. Supreme rapporteur: decision making and changes in the supreme court composition during FHC and Lula governments. Rev. bras. Ci. Soc. [online]. 2012, vol.27, n.80, pp. 89-115. ISSN 0102-6909.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-69092012000300006.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the internal dynamics of decision-making in the Supreme Court (STF), focusing on the answers that the Court gives to the demands brought to it via direct control of constitutionality and the factors that influence these responses. Our hypothesis is that depending on the profile of the justices sitting in the Court the answer given will be different. The argument is that changes in the composition of the Court are reflected in changes in the decision-making pattern. To test this hypothesis, we have chosen a period of great renewal in the composition of the Court, between the second Cardoso government (1999-2002) and the first Lula government (2003-2006). We have mapped out the patterns of decisions in cases Direct Actions of Unconstitutionality during that period and the factors that influenced these decisions. The conclusion of this research is that the composition of court and the justices profile matter, but the most determinant variable to the outcome of the decision is the vote of the rapporteur. The data analyzed also allows to state that that unlike most studies indicate, the Supreme Court is not too parsimonious in its action.

Keywords : Supreme Court; Decision-making process; Justice's profile.

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