Joaquim Barbosa

Joaquim Benedito Barbosa Gomes (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuɐˈkĩ biɲiˈdʒitu] or [bẽneˈdʒitu bɐʁˈbɔzɐ ˈɡõmis]ParacatuMinas GeraisBrazil) is a former Justice of the Supreme Federal Court in Brazil. He served as the president of the court (Chief Justice) between 2012 and 2014.

Barbosa studied law at University of Brasília (1979) and holds a master’s degree (1990) and a doctorate (1993) from Panthéon-Assas University.[3]

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

Early life and education

He has humble origins. He is the oldest son of a bricklayer father and a housewife mother.[5] He started his education in the Brazilian public school system in his hometown, later completed in Brasília.[6]

He worked as a cleaner and typesetter before attending Law School at the University of Brasília [2][7]

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.[8]

Career before Supreme Court

After graduating from the University of Brasila, Barbosa began working for the Brazilian diplomatic service, Itamaraty, as a chancery official.[6][9] His first assignment was to Helsinki, Finland.[9]

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]

Along with his position at Itamaraty, he served as a public servant for some Brazilian departments, and lately as a public prosecutor of the Public Ministry.[6]

Aside from his academic achievements, Minister Barbosa also became fluent in French, Spanish, English and German.[9]

Supreme Federal Court Justice

Barbosa was appointed to the office by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on June 25, 2003 along with Ayres Britto and Cezar Peluso.[1]

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 notably makes it uncomfortable for him to remain seated. Barbosa has often been noted for his practice of attending session while standing up.[13]

Chief Justice of Brazil

From left to right: José Sarney (then President of the Senate), Dilma Rousseff, (President of Brazil), Joaquim Barbosa and Marco Maia (then President of the Chamber of Deputies) during the tenure of Barbosa as President of the Supreme Federal Court, November 22, 2012.

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.[14] 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.[7]

Barbosa demonstrates unconditional defense in some questions. He is against the power of prosecutors to file administrative investigations. He argues about transfer the competency to hear cases on slave labor to federal court.Barbosa opposes also the privileged forum for authorities. His tenure start in November 22, 2012 was attended by President Dilma Rousseff, Senate President José Sarney, among many other celebrities.[15]

The welcoming speech has been delivered by Justice Luiz Fux.[16]


  1. Jump up to: a b VEJA magazine, ed. 1809, p. 94 (in Portuguese).
  2. Jump up to: a b O Estado de S. Paulo, November 23, 2012, p. A4
  3. Jump up ^ Doctorate
  4. Jump up ^,f399f3e015a3e310VgnVCM5000009ccceb0aRCRD.html
  5. Jump up ^ VEJA magazine, ed. 2024, p. 57 (in Portuguese).
  6. Jump up to: a b c STF website curriculum vitae (in Portuguese) Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  7. Jump up to: a b The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  8. Jump up ^ Doctorate
  9. Jump up to: a b c [1]
  10. Jump up ^ CV Lattes
  11. Jump up to: a b Spreadsheet with Min. Joaquim Barbosa actions pending from STF website (in Portuguese) Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  12. Jump up ^ Diário do Comércio website. (in Portuguese) Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  13. Jump up ^ VEJA magazine, ed. 2290, p. 78 (in Portuguese).
  14. Jump up ^ STF News (in Portuguese) Retrieved November 19, 2012
  15. Jump up ^ O Estado de S. Paulo, November 23, 2012, p. A6
  16. Jump up ^ O Estado de S. Paulo, November 23, 2012, p. A8