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Revista Direito GV

versão On-line ISSN 2317-6172


ARGUELHES, Diego Werneck  e  RIBEIRO, Leandro Molhano. Creature and/or Creator: the Brazilian Supreme Court’s transformations under the 1988 Constitution. Rev. direito GV [online]. 2016, vol.12, n.2, pp.405-440. ISSN 2317-6172.

The Brazilian Supreme Federal Court (STF) occupies a central role in the national political process. The court´s decisions have been the last official word on many key constitutional controversies, and it has increasingly asserted its own powers to solve political and moral conflicts, even against majoritarian decisions. This scenario, however, is very different from the 90s, when the court was much less relevant in national politics. In this paper, we engage with and try to map this process of institutional transformation by analyzing and contrasting the court that the constitution created in its original text, and the court that the Justices themselves have recreated, by means of institutional practices and constitutional interpretation of their own powers. We will explore some of the implications of the institutional transformations driven by the court itself, by identifying a set of new trends in the ways by which the court participates in the national political process. The paper concludes by arguing that, instead of acting just as a veto point to majoritarian decisions (that is, as a third legislative chamber), the court has been signaling its willingness to accept (and to rule on) cases in which it will be forced to act as a first legislative chamber.

Palavras-chave : Supreme Federal Court; institutional design; judicial decision-making; judicial behavior.

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