SIZE Diminuir tamanho da fonte Aumentar tamanho da fonte
Highlights Print

Minister Ayres Britto is the new president of the STF

Friday, March 16th, 2012.

Justice Ayres Britto was elected, by 10 votes to 1, as the new Chief Justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court for the biennium 2012-2014. The election happened in the beginning of the plenary session of the court, in the afternoon of Wednesday (14). The Court also elected, as vice-president, the minister Joaquim Barbosa. The ministers will take office on April, 19th.

Regarding  the vice-presidency of minister Joaquim Barbosa, minister Ayres Britto reminded the “period of full harmony” in the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), when they were president and vice-president of the electoral court.

Despite the election for the biennium, minister Ayres Britto will leave the Court before the end of his term, as he reaches the limit age for mandatory retirement on November, 18th of this year.

Profile of the elected president

Minister of the Supreme Federal Court since June, 2003, Carlos Ayres Britto was the rapporteur of actions in which the STF decided important issues as: the permission for research using embryonic stem cells (ADI 3510), the legality of the full and continuous demarcation of the indigenous area of Raposa Serra do Sol (state of Roraima), with 1.747.464 hectares (Petition 3388), and the acknowledgement of the stable union of people of same sex (ADI 4277 and ADPF 132).

He also reported another issue of great importance, which was the process that led to the rejection of the "Press Law". The decision was taken in the judgment of the Allegation of Disobedience of Fundamental Precept (ADPF) no. 130; and also the judgment of the ADC no. 12, resulting in the prohibition of nepotism in the Judiciary and in the other Branches of government.

From May 2008 to April 2010, Ayres Britto chaired the Superior Electoral Court (TSE). Even before the edition of the Complementary Law n. 135, the "Clean Record Law", in June 2010, he defended in the TSE and in the STF the thesis of ineligibility of the candidates condemned by administrative improbity and corruption. In this period, he also put an end to the named “rogue application”.

During the general elections of 2010, the minister was the rapporteur of the ADI 4451, in which the STF permited, by preliminary injunction, the use of political cartoons and humor in the electoral campaigns.

He was also rapporteur of the Criminal Action no. 409, the first that resulted in the condemnation of a federal congressman by the STF, in May, 2010: the former member of the House of Representatives, José Geraldo Oliveira de Arruda Filho, from Ceará, charged for the crime of malversation as the mayor of Caucaia (CE).

Born in the city of Propriá in the state of Sergipe, academic and poet, Ayres Brito was named minister of the STF by the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to occupy the seat open by the retirement of minister Ilmar Galvão. Today, at 69, he is the vice-president of the Court and chair of Second Panel. In 2009, he chaired the First Panel.

The subject of research with embryonic stem cell, examined in the Direct Action of Unconstitutionality (ADI) no. 3510, was object of the first public hearing promoted by the STF, with the purpose of providing the members of the Court with technical information about the subject. Ayres Britto called and conducted the works of the hearing, performed in April, 2007.


Graduated in Law by the Federal University de Sergipe in 1966, the minister Ayres Britto took postgraduate studies in Public and Private Law in the same institution. From the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, he received a master's degree in State Law and doctorate in Constitutional Law.

Before 2003, Ayres Britto acted as a lawyer and held public positions in Sergipe as general consultant for the state, Public Prosecutor and as prosecutor for the Federal Court of Audit (TCU). Between 1993 and 1994, he was federal counselor for the Federal Council of the Bar Association (OAB) and member of the Commission of Constitutional Studies of the entity, for two terms.

During his career, he lectured in various universities, for graduation and post-graduation. He was professor of Constitutional Law (since 1990) and Administrative Law (1976-1983), of Theory of the State (1993 to 1999) and of General and Professional Ethics (2000-2001), at the Sergipe Federal University. He was also a professor of Constitutional Law at the Tiradentes of Aracaju College (1980-1983).

Ayres Britto is known as a literate and philosophy scholar. He is member of the Brazilian Academy of Juridical Letters and the Sergipe Academy of Letters. Among the poetry books he published, we find: “Teletempo”; “Um lugar chamado luz”; Uma quarta de farinha”; “A pele do ar”; “Varal de Borboletas” and “Ópera do Silêncio”.

In the Law subject, he wrote the following books: "Teoria da Constituição"; "O Perfil Constitucional da Licitação"; "Interpretação e Aplicabilidade das Normas Constitucionais" (coauthor); "Jurisprudência Administrativa e Judicial em Matéria de Servidor Público" and "O humanismo como categoria constitucional".

Symbolic Election

According to the Internal Regulation of the STF, the President and the Vice-President of the Court must be elected among their members, by secret vote, for a two-year term, with no possibility of reelection for a further period. However, by tradition of the Court, the oldest Minister of the Court that has not yet exercised the post assumes the Presidency. The Vice-Presidency is exercised by the minister that will succeed the new President. In the symbolic election of this Wednesday, it was maintained the alternation between the members of the STF so that all of its members take over the Presidency, observed the decreasing order of antiquity.

As a constitutional rule, public agents must necessarily retire when they reach the age of 70. Because of that, the term of minister Ayres Britto will be early interrupted, since he reaches the age limit in November of this year. His successor in the Presidency of the Supreme Federal Court will be the minister Joaquim Barbosa.

Contact us
Praça dos Três Poderes - Brasília - DF - Brazil - Zip Code 70175-900 Phone: 55.61.3217.3000