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A Simple Curmudgeonly Philippic

Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Whatever happened to the separation of powers? Not only does the Brazilian “presidential” system grant the President vast powers to legislate (through “medidas provisórias” and other, more subtle means) but, most astonishingly, it grants the Supreme Court the power to legislate.

Brazilian lawyers love to say that the difference between the “civil code” and “common law” systems is that under the former, judges cannot make law. Brazilian legal scholars know better: consider “moral” damages, where judges made law long before lackadaisical legislators learned their lessons.

This philosophical question came to the . . .

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