The Honorable Joaquim Barbosa, President of the Brazilian Supreme Court

Facing Constitutional Justice in Brazil

Tue, 04/23/2013
10:30 AM, Fields Center Multipurpose Room, 58 Prospect Avenue (Corner of Prospect and Olden Streets)

Joaquim Barbosa, Chief Justice of Brazil, will deliver a public talk at Princeton University on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at 10:30 a.m., in the Multipurpose Room of the Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding.  The talk “Facing Constitutional Justice in Brazil,” is sponsored by the Program in Law and Public Affairs, the Woodrow Wilson School, the Center for Migration and Development, the Program in Latin American Studies, and the Network on Race and Citizenship in the Americas. It is free and open to the public.


Rising from a humble background as the son of a bricklayer, Barbosa worked long hours at an early age. While working, he also studied long hours and eventually obtained a master’s in public law from the University of Brasilia and then a Ph.D. (1993) in public law at the Sorbonne (University of Paris-II-Panthéon-Assas. In 1984, he became a federal prosecutor for the Brazilian Public Ministry – the so-called “fourth branch” of government that seeks to uphold justice among the general population – in Brasilia and later in Rio de Janeiro, a position that he held until 2003. He was also a visiting scholar at the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School (1999-2000) and at UCLA’s School of Law (2002-2003).

In 2003, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva appointed Barbosa to the country's Supreme Court and in 2013 he became the president of the Brazilian Supreme Court, becoming the first Afro-Brazilian chief justice in the 180 year history of that court. He has been involved in several controversial cases, most notably as the rapporteur for the most important political corruption case in Brazilian history (o mensalão), for which he has received national acclaim.  Barbosa was recently named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2013.

In his talk, Justice Barbosa will address the challenges in realizing constitutional justice in Brazil’s new democracy.  Princeton University Provost, Christopher Eisgruber, will be commentator. His comments will be followed by questions and responses from Justice Barbosa.