Bolsonaro Appoints Evangelical Pastor to Supreme Court

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro nominated Attorney General Andre Mendonca to the Supreme Court, making him the first evangelical Christian positioned to join the top court.

The president announced his choice after meeting with Chief Justice Luiz Fux Monday evening and emphasized Mendonca’s religion.

“He is extremely evangelical, he’s an evangelical pastor,” Bolsonaoro told journalists. “I said that I make just one request of him -- and he says the deal is done -- to once a week start the session with a prayer.”

Bolsonaro Appoints Evangelical Pastor to Supreme Court

Bolsonaro had long promised to appoint an evangelical judge to the Supreme Court. The country’s significant -- and growing -- evangelical population make up a key pillar of the president’s support base, one that becomes even more important with his popularity falling to record lows a little over a year before the next presidential election and amid a ballooning vaccine scandal.

Mendonca, 48, served as Justice Minister following the resignation of Sergio Moro. He will be the second justice indicated by Bolsonaro. The first pick, Kassio Nunes, was endorsed by the powerful group of centrist parties in congress and was seen as helping Bolsonaro shore up support in the legislature.

“I thank God for life and for the possibility to serve my country,” Mendonca said in a statement after Bolsonaro’s announcement. “I thank President Jair Bolsonaro for his confidence, as well as evangelical leaders, lawmakers, and all who have supported me.”

Mendonca’s name will be submitted to the senate in a few days. He’ll first need to pass by the justice committee before a floor vote where at least 41 of the 81 senators will need to back him. If confirmed, Mendonca will take the seat left vacant by 75-year-old Marco Aurelio Mello, who is retiring due to age limit.

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