Brazil's Senate approves Bolsonaro's Supreme Court pick

Former Brazil's Attorney-General Andre Luiz de Almeida Mendonca, nominee of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro to be the next Supreme Court Justice, attends a session of the Committee on Constitution and Justice of the Senate in Brasilia, Brazil, December 1, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazil's Senate on Wednesday approved President Jair Bolsonaro's "terribly Evangelical" pick for a spot on the Supreme Court, adding a conservative voice to the 11-member panel to represent the views of the country's vast religious right.

The Senate voted 47 to 32 to approve Andre Mendonca, the former attorney general and a conservative ally of the president. The appointment, which was pushed by Evangelicals and other conservative Christians, will not reverse the overall progressive lean of the court after years of left-wing and centrist rule, but could begin to shift its politics back right.

Bolsonaro had been under pressure to nominate an Evangelical justice after picking Kassio Nunes Marques, a moderate, to the bench last year. Marques won support from the so-called "centrao" bloc of lawmakers that Bolsonaro has come to rely on to block the many impeachment proposals against him in Congress.

In July, Bolsonaro pledged to pick a "terribly Evangelical" justice. Mendonca, an evangelical pastor, will replace former Justice Celso de Mello who - under the rules of the court - retired having reached the age of 75.

Bolsonaro, who describes himself as a Catholic, rose to power with strong support from conservative Evangelicals, whose influence has grown in Latin America in recent decades, particularly in Brazil. Bolsonaro's wife, Michelle, is an Evangelical Christian.

(Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; editing by Richard Pullin)

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