A national security act, a constitution and an unburied past in Brazil

Political parties have argued at Brazil’s Supreme Court whether the 1983 military-rule National Security Act opposes the democratic 1988 Constitution. They now question the General Attorney’s and Rio de Janeiro police’s authority, based on that act, to investigate public manifestations against President Bolsonaro, and the Supreme Court’s decision to detain a congressman who called people to raise against that Court, on YouTube. We discuss it through: (i) the Act’s and people’s authoritarian traits vis-à-vis the Constitutional Assembly’s democratic guiding principles; (ii) the Act’s and the Constitution’s material and formal aspects; and (iii) the risks to democracy due to misleading online information. In our analysis, we resort to: (i) history, legal and political theory literature on the National Security Doctrine; (ii) the legislation set by the Constitution and the Act; (iii) the appealing parties’ legal arguments; and (iv) a discourse analysis of electronic and social media texts.