Constitutional Crisis as a Crisis of Democracy: The Brazilian Judicial Branch’s (Dis)trust on The Rule of Law

In Constitutional Theory, one of the main institutional roles of the Judicial Branch is to defend democracy and fundamental rights. Latterly, however, judicial decisions taken in the context of “Operation Carwash” point to a “temporary suspension” of some basic positive Brazilian norms, on the grounds of hardening criminal law interpretation, as “exceptional times” would demand “exceptional rules”. This paper discusses the relation between exceptional judicial decisions, which institutionally authorize the temporary removal of constitutional norms for “purposes of moralization”, with the pavement of authoritarian ideas that gradually erode the democratic regime. In this sense, the concept of constitutional crisis is presented as the double face of a democratic crisis. After all, is it reasonable to accept that magistrates define what is a “state of normality” and what is a “state of exception” in order to determine whether or not they will respect the current legal order?