The erosion of social policies in contemporary Brazil and the limited judicial response to its effects

This paper aims to analyze social policies in Brazil and its relation with the increase of judicialization. The literature on judicialization of public policies in Latin America considers that the high rates of litigation may be a consequence of economic crises and problematic government plans. These constitutions have sponsored the coexistence between generous socioeconomic rights and neoliberal economic agenda. This has led to intense litigation movements. In Brazil, social policies have been subject to intense cuts and pressures. In the process of implementation of those policies, bureaucracies narrow the criteria for benefits. I argue that the possibility that these bureaucratic-administrative decisions are reviewed by the judiciary constitutes a palliative remedy for the erosion and dismemberment of social policies. It is a limited response. I defend the idea that these individual claims do not challenge political and power dynamics and may eventually weaken the social reaction.