What are Brazil’s Supreme Court main judgements in 2022?

In an electoral year, the Supreme Court will have a polemic voting agenda related to popular movements and labor issues

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasília (DF) |
Experts point out the 2022 voting agenda of the Supreme Federal puts the Court on a leading role - Fellipe Sampaio/STF

Depending on the importance of the voting agenda that will go to the plenary of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court in the first half of 2022, the Court will reaffirm its leading political role in 2022 electoral year. That is the evaluation made by experts in judicial Power heard by Brasil de Fato. 

The Supreme Court is in recess until the last days of January. From February on, however, the Court will probably deal with polemic issues, such as the “time frame limitation” argument (tese do marco temporal, in Portuguese), police operations in favelas, the analyzes of the crime of illegal salary deduction (also known in Brazil as “rachadinha”), vaccine passport, among others.  

Click here to download the voting agenda of the Supreme Court for the first semester of 2022. 

After minister André Mendonça take office, the Supreme Court will have a full plenary again to analyze each issue. Medonça is former Attorney General of the Union and Bolsonaro’s former Justice Minister. The Senate approved his nomination in December 2021. 

The role of the new minister will be one of the tensions of the Supreme Court in 2022. Mendonça is going to be the rapporteur of crucial issues to Bolsonaro, as the process to block social media accounts of his supporters. 

The “terribly evangelical” minister will also head actions that demand from the Federal Government a plan to prevent and combat fires in the Pantanal Wetlands and Amazon Rainforest. There are great expectations to know what decisions Mendonça will take in cases involving his former boss. 

One of the first cases Mendonça must express himself is the judgement on the lethality of police operations in Rio de Janeiro. The matter was being examined by the plenary in December, but the judgment was interrupted. 

Minister Edson Fachin voted in favor of reducing the lethality of police operations in Rio’s poor communities and neighborhoods, mainly after the police raid in Jacarezinho favela in May last year, which killed 28 people.   

On June 23, the Supreme Court will resume the analyzes of the “time frame limitation”  to demarcate indigenous land. The judgment is tied, and minister Alexandre de Moraes requested for examination of the case records in September. Until the interruption, the minister overseeing the case, Edson Fachin, voted against the “time frame argument”, and minister Nunes Marques, in favor. 

The “time frame limitation” argument establishes that indigenous populations can only claim lands they were occupying on the exact date of the promulgation of Brzil’s Constitution, on October 5, 1988. The argument directly opposes landlords against indigenous and environmentalist movements

On February 9, the Court will resume the examination on the need for vaccine passport, besides the covid-19 test, to travelers who arrive in Brazil. The judgment of the matter was interrupted after 8 votes in favor of the vaccine passport and 0 against it. At the time, minister Marques Nunes requested the examination of the case records. 

Experts are concerned 

Lawyer Tânia Maria Saraiva de Oliveira, a member of the executive coordination of the Brazilian Association of Lawyers for Democracy (ABJD, in Portuguese), says that the entity has concerns about judgments that were left undefined in 2021. 

“This year will be of great expectations about some issues that were left undefined in 2021, as the suspension of gun decrees, issued by Bolsonaro’s government to make easier to carry and posses guns”, she states.  

“We hope the Supreme Court keeps the suspension of the decrees, what was already done by an injunction issued by ministers Rosa Weber and Edson Fachin”, said Oliveira. 

She highlights that the possibility of debating again the matter of imprisonment after condemnation in the appellate court is a concerning factor. "We hope this topic be in the agenda no more". 

Lawyer João Jaques Pederneira, human rights expert, stated to Brasil de Fato that the Supreme Court’s agenda for the first half of 2022 highlights the Court’s role once again. According to Pederneira, Bolsonaro’s government is pushing the Supreme Court to this protagonist role.  

"Every day, the executive [Power] shows a more intense capacity to elevate the Supreme Court to a prominent place. Disastrous measures, such as the boycott of the vaccine passport, force the ministers to react", he explains. 

"From the perspective of social movements, there are still issues related to rights of transgender and queer people, and labor issues, such as the massive layoffs, and vaccine requirement for employees", points out Perderneira. 


According to experts, the presidential elections (to be held in October) will also be something to pay attention to in 2022. Tânia Maria de Oliveira points out that the issues will probably be underway in the Supreme Electoral Court, even though they should be underway at the Supreme Federal Court. 

"On the issue of monitoring fake news, it is of utter importance that the Federal Supreme Court has a firm stance as it had had, in some sense, until now to curb the spread of fake news", he explains. 

"ABJD expects the judicial Power, mainly the Supreme Federal Court, to take a very firm stance in 2022. That’s a year that will demand from all those who defend the federal Constitution and democracy a very firm stance", he concludes. 

Read bellow some of the main issues of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court in 2022: 

“Time frame” argumentation: resume of the “time frame limitation” judgement to demarcate indigenous lands. The vote is tied. 

“ADPF das Favelas”: if approved, it will require police to justify the “exceptionality” for carrying out a police operation in favelas. 

Vaccine passport: requirement of covid-19 vaccine passport for travelers coming from abroad to Brazil. 

Massive layoffs: to debate about the layoff of more than 4,000 Embraer workers in 2009. 

Vaccine requirement for employees:  appreciation of minister Barroso's decision to remove excerpts of the Ministry of Labor and Welfare ordinance that prevented companies from forcing their employees to take the vaccine against covid-19. 

Illegal salary deduction (aka “rachadinha”): The inclusion – or not – of the alleged crime that took place in the office of federal deputy Silas Câmara (Republicans Party/Amazonas state). 

Offensive content online: the obligation of companies that hosts websites to inspect the content posted by users and to delete it when it is considered offensive. 

Primary health care: The Workers Party is questioning some actions of the Ministry of Health on the primary health care of transgender and queer people.

Edited by: Vivian Virissimo