BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Celso de Mello will retire early on Oct. 13, the court’s press office said on Friday, allowing for President Jair Bolsonaro to make his first pick for the country’s top court.
The retiral date is three weeks before de Mello turns 75 and would have been required to retire under age limits for supreme court judges. Bolsonaro’s nomination to replace de Mello must be approved by the Senate.
De Mello is seen as a moderate on the court and far-right Bolsonaro’s pick for his replacement could tilt the court more conservative.
De Mello is also the lead judge for a probe into allegations that Bolsonaro sought to interfere in the leadership of the federal police to potentially benefit his son, who is under investigation for corruption. Bolsonaro denies the allegations.
The outgoing judge had moved quickly to advance the investigation into the president. Under Supreme Court rules and precedent, the new justice appointed by Bolsonaro could take over for De Mello in leading oversight of the case.
(Reporting by Ricardo Brito; writing by Jake Spring; editing by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Alistair Bell)