By a vote of 9 to 1, the Brazilian Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal) (STF) ruled Thursday, February 16, that Brazil’s constitution does prohibit nepotism in the Judiciary branch of government.
According to the Chief Justice of the court, Nelson Jobim, the STF ruling makes it mandatory for all relatives of judges to be fired beginning today and nullifies all prior court injunctions to the contrary.
Some 700 injunctions have recently been issued allowing relatives who have not passed civil service exams to remain in their jobs.
The Brazilian equivalent of the bipartisan watchdog Government Accountability Office, the "Tribunal de Contas da União" (TCU), will have the task of monitoring the situation in the Judiciary branch now that the Supreme Court has outlawed nepotism there.
One of the first things that will happen is administrative action by the TCU against any courts that do not immediately cut off the salaries of relatives of judges who have not passed civil service exams.
It is estimated that there are more than 1,800 relatives of judges on court payrolls around the country. Before the Supreme Court ruling yesterday, some 700 of them had gotten court injunctions allowing them to remain in their jobs, receiving their salaries.
According to the Chief Justice, Nelson Jobim, all those injunctions are now null. The relatives must go and if they don’t the judges in the courts where they are employed will be held administratively responsible, declared Jobim, adding that besides the TCU, the government legal department (Ministério Público) will be put into action to ensure that the Supreme Court ruling is complied with.
The president of the Association of Labor Court Judges (Associação Nacional dos Magistrados da Justiça Trabalhista) (Anamatra), José Nilton Pandelot, praised the ruling by the Supreme Court against nepotism, pointing out that it consolidates the authority of the National Justice Council (Conselho Nacional de Justiça) (CNJ) as a Judiciary branch administrative agency
The suit against nepotism in the Judiciary branch that the Supreme Court accepted was brought by the CNJ].
Pandelot went on to say that he intends to join forces with the Brazilian Judges Association (Associação dos Magistrados Brasileiros) (AMB) and sponsor a bill for a constitutional amendment that will eliminate nepotism in all branches of government.