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Joaquim Barbosa


Joaquim Barbosa

His Excellency
Joaquim Barbosa
Justice Joaquim Barbosa
Chief Justice of Brazil
Assumed office
November 17, 2012 [1]
Preceded by Ayres Britto
Supreme Federal Court Justice
Assumed office
June 25, 2003 [2]
Nominated by Luís Inácio Lula da Silva
Preceded by Moreira Alves [2]
Personal details
Born (1954-10-07) October 7, 1954 (age 59)
Paracatu, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Alma mater University of Brasília [3]

Joaquim Benedito Barbosa Gomes (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuɐˈkĩ biɲiˈdʒitu] or [bẽneˈdʒitu bɐʁˈbɔzɐ ˈgõmis], Paracatu, Minas Gerais, Brazil) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Federal Court in Brazil. He is currently the president of the court (Chief Justice).

Minister Barbosa studied law at University of Brasília (1979) and holds a master's degree (1990) and a doctorate (1993) from Panthéon-Assas University.[4]

In 2013, he was elected by Time magazine one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[5]

Early life and education

He has humble origins. He is the oldest son of a bricklayer father and a housewife mother.[6] He started his education in the Brazilian public school system in his hometown, lately completed in Brasília.[7]

He worked as a cleaner and in a printer before to attend the Law School at the University of Brasília [3][8]

Barbosa studied Law at University of Brasília (1979). He holds a Master (1990) and a Doctor (1993) of Laws from DEA - Droit Public Interne - Panthéon-Assas University.[9]

Career before Supreme Court

Barbosa was a member of the Federal Public Ministry and Adjunct Professor at Rio de Janeiro State University. He was also a visiting scholar at the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School, in New York (1999 to 2000), and at UCLA School of Law (2002 to 2003).[10]

He served as chancery official for Itamaraty, a public servant for some Brazilian departments, and lately as a public prosecutor of the Public Ministry.[7]

Aside from his academic achievements, Minister Barbosa also became fluent in French, Spanish, English and German.

Supreme Federal Court Justice

He has been appointed to that office by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, assuming on June 25, 2003 along with his peers Ayres Britto and Cezar Peluso.[2]

Among many other actions, he is the judge rapporteur for Criminal Action 470 [11] (also known as Mensalão scandal) and his further development, the Criminal Action 536 (also known as Mensalão mineiro).[12]

As of November 2012, he has 8,460 actions under his responsibility being processed by the Court.[11]

Barbosa suffers from sacroiliitis, an inflammatory disease, which makes very uncomfortable to him to remain seated. Therefore it is very common to see him attending the sessions standing up, or seated in a special chair to relieve his pain.[13]

Chief Justice of Brazil

He took the office as the acting president of the court in November 17, 2012 because of the mandatory retirement of his colleague Ayres Britto, as he was the current vice-president of the Court.[1] However he was already the President Elect of the Court as chosen by his fellows on October 2012, keeping the tradition the oldest member not served yet as President to be elected to that position.[8]

He is the first black man to take the oath as the Chief Justice of Brazil. (Although the main fact on his inauguration was not exactly his race but his humble origin instead.) His tenure start in November 22, 2012 was attended by President Dilma Rousseff, Senate President José Sarney, among many other celebrities.[14]

The welcoming speech has been delivered by Justice Luiz Fux.[15]


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