Teori Zavascki takes office as Deputy Justice of the TSE

Justice Marco Aurélio, president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), invested Justice Teori Zavascki in office to serve as new deputy member of that court on March 18.

Justice Marco Aurélio, president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), invested Justice Teori Zavascki in office to serve as new deputy member of that court on March 18. Zavascki filled the deputy post that had opened up after Justice Gilmar Mendes took office as a permanent member of that court. The induction ceremony was held at the Noble Hall (“Salão Nobre”) of the TSE.
The Federal Supreme Court (STF) elected Justice Teori Zavascki as deputy member of the TSE on February 20. This is the second time in which Teori Zavascki takes office as Deputy Justice. The first time occurred in 2011, when served as Deputy Justice to represent the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) before the TSE. Later, he was appointed by president Dilma Rousseff to serve as Justice of the STF, having taken office on November 29, 2012.
After investing Teori Zavascki in office, Justice Marco Aurélio highlighted some notable moments in the career path of the newest member of that Court. The president of the TSE recalled that Justice Teori Zavascki had already chaired the Regional Federal Appellate Court of the 4th Region (which has jurisdiction over the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná) and served as a member of the Superior Court of Justice between May 8, 2003 and November 29, 2012. He also noted that Justice Teori Zavascki wrote and co-authored many books, and that he continued to publish articles in legal magazines on a regular basis.
Justice Marco Aurélio also underlined that the professional experience of Justice Teori Zavascki is rather specific, which turns out to be quite opportune for the TSE, as he has served as Judge of the Regional Electoral Court of the State of Rio Grande do Sul (TRE-RS) during two terms of two years each, between August 1991 and August 1995.
“I can affirm, leaving no room for further debate, that Your Honor will certainly add high-level input to the works developed by the governing body of the electoral jurisdiction”, said Justice Marco Aurélio when greeting Justice Teori Zavascki and his family members during the induction ceremony, and thanking all attendees for their presence at that event.
Teori Zavascki recalled that he had already served as Deputy Justice of the TSE in another occasion. “I already had the opportunity to fill this office in a different moment, and now I am glad to be assigned for the job once more. What I mean is that I have an enormous respect for the Electoral Court System, and this is the type of work that requires much responsibility, as this House is held accountable for securing democracy in practice, given that it ensures that the representatives of people are elected in compliance with clean and proper procedures”, he said. Justice Zavascki admitted that serving as a deputy member at the TSE was both exciting and challenging, “but it certainly involved a high degree of responsibility as well”.
“I believe that it is important that the population becomes more and more aware of the electoral process and maybe that is what is really at stake now. Brazilians tend to fail to monitor the works undertaken by their elected representatives and it is important that this situation improves in the future”, concluded Zavascki.
With regard to the Clean Record Act (Law N. 135/2010), which is to be applied to general elections for the first time, Justice Zavascki noted, “the Electoral Court will be expected to apply the appropriate electoral rules, and that is what really matters”.
The president of the TSE chaired the induction ceremony, which was attended by court members and guests. Event attendees also included Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, vice-president of the Federal Supreme Court (STF); Justice Felix Fischer, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice; Rodrigo Janot, Federal Electoral Attorney General; Marcus Vinícius Furtado Coêlho, president of the Federal Council of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB); Maria Elena Wapenka, vice-president of the Electoral Court of Paraguay; and Manuel María Cáceres, the ambassador of Paraguay.
After taking office, Deputy Justice Teori Zavascki was greeted by members of the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches; representatives from civil society, lawyers, journalists, employees from the TSE and from other courts as well.
Justice Luis Roberto Barroso, from the Federal Supreme Court (STF), praised the appointment of Teori Zavascki to serve as Deputy Justice at the TSE. “Justice Teori was a brilliant lawyer, is an accomplished jurist, a talented law professor, has delivered an outstanding work as Justice of the STJ, is an exceptional Justice of the Supreme Court and will certainly perform an outstanding job as member of the Superior Electoral Court, which has a working environment where the serenity and swiftness within which he is capable to decide on complex matters will be critical to deliver high-level judicial services”, said Barroso.
The judge skills and qualities of Justice Teori Zavascki were also highlighted by Justice Ayres Britto, former president of the TSE, when he noted the role of the TSE within Brazil´s Judicial branch. “This is the House of Representative Democracy, as the peak of representative democracies takes place during elections, and Justice Teori steps in ready for duty, entirely capable of honoring the highest and most prestigious traditions of the Electoral Court System of Brazil”.
Marcus Vinícius Furtado Coêlho, president of the Federal Council of OAB, pointed that he believed that the newest member of the TSE would be capable of facing the challenges that are likely to be imposed by the electoral process to be held later this year. “Justice Teori relies on a vast, comprehensive experience, which was acquired during the years he practiced law, taught at universities, and served as electoral judge. He has a long and well-respected career in judicature. Undeniably, he is a fortunate acquisition for the Superior Electoral Court, especially because of the proximity of this year´s elections”, he concluded.
Teori Albino Zavascki started serving as Justice of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) on May 8, 2003. Previously, he had served at the Regional Federal Appellate Court of the 4th Region, having chaired that court between 2001 and 2003. On November 29, 2012, he took office as Justice of the Federal Supreme Court (STF).
Born in the municipality of Faxinal dos Guedes, in the State of Santa Catarina, he earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from the Federal University of the State of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in 1972. He later earned both a Master of Laws and a Doctor of Laws degree from the same university.
He is a law professor at the University of Brasília, having been a faculty member of that institution since July 2005.
The TSE is composed of at least seven permanent Justices. Three of them are selected among the members of the Federal Supreme Court (STF); two, among the members of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ); and two are practicing attorneys recommended by the STF and appointed by the President of the Republic. Each permanent Justice is entitled to have a Deputy Justice, provided he/she comes from the same court of origin.
Justices Marco Aurélio (president), Dias Toffoli (vice-president) and Gilmar Mendes are STF members that currently serve as permanent Justices of the TSE. Court members also include Justice Laurita Vaz, who presently serves as the head of the Disciplinary Board of the Electoral Court System, and Justice João Otávio de Noronha, both from the STJ; and Justices Henrique Neves and Luciana Lóssio, both representing the guild of lawyers.
Justices Luiz Fux and Rosa Weber, both from the STF, have already been appointed replace STF Justices that serve as permanent members of the TSE, in the event of their absence. Teori Zavascki is the third Deputy Justice to take office with the purpose of representing the STF before the TSE.