Brazilian Supreme Court and Federalism. Reflections on the effects of judicial decisions at the federative design during the pandemic Covid-19

This working paper aims to discuss recent Brazilian Supreme Court decisions related to the federation’s institutional design and political conflicts during the pandemic of Covid-19. The Brazilian federative design intensified previous conflicts since authorities disagreed with each other about which measures should be taken to tackle the pandemic. Thus, the Supreme Court was provoked to mediate these struggles, building a jurisprudence that brought changes to this topic. As the Federal Government failed to coordinate effective actions to fight against the pandemic, the Court confirmed a shared responsibility between federal entities to protect the right to health. In that sense, I suggest that those recent decisions have direct and symbolic effects on the Federation’s institutional design, such as the strengthening of the federation units and the growing presence of states and municipalities consortia – to coordinate those actions during the pandemic.