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Composition of the court

The TSE plays a fundamental role in constructing and developing the Brazilian democracy, in joint action with the regional electoral courts (tribunais regionais eleitorais [TREs]), which are in charge of managing the electoral process in the states and municipalities.
According to Art. 119 of the Federal Constitution of 1988 (CF/1988), the Superior Electoral Court shall be composed of seven judges, as follows:

  • Three judges from among the members of the Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal [STF]);
  • Two judges from among the members of the Superior Court of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiça [STJ]);
  • Two judges, appointed by the President of the Republic, chosen among six Lawyers of notorious juridical knowledge and good moral reputation appointed by the Federal Supreme Court.

The TSE always selects its president and vice-president from the STF, and the electoral inspector general from the STJ (CF/1988, Art. 119, sole paragraph).
A substitute will be chosen for each effective judge, following the same procedures (CF/1988, Art. 121, 2nd paragraph, in fine).
The judges of the Electoral Justice are elected to serve for a two-year period, and shall not hold office for more than two consecutive two-year periods (CF/1988, Art. 121, 1st part).
The rotation of judges within the Electoral Justice aims at maintaining the nonpolitical character of the electoral courts, in order to guarantee equality in the electoral processes.
The Electoral Public Prosecutor and the Public Defender must also take legal action before the Court.