Brazil's Senate approves Bolsonaro's Supreme Court pick

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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

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BRASILIA, Dec 1 (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.

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

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