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Brazil Supreme Court 1st Black Justice Steps Down

Joaquim Barbosa smiles during his inauguration ceremony at the Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil. (AP Photo)
Joaquim Barbosa smiles during his inauguration ceremony at the Supreme Court in Brasilia, Brazil. (AP Photo)

 

SAO PAULO (AP) — The only black to ever serve on Brazil’s top court presided at his last session as president of the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Joaquim Barbosa, 59, announced his early retirement a month ago.

Barbosa presided over a high-profile corruption trial in 2012 that sent more than 20 people to jail in a congressional payoff scheme.

The trial made him a household name in Brazil and he was frequently mentioned as a potential presidential candidate, but he said he had no desire to run for elective office.

Barbosa was appointed in 2003 by then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to be the first black justice on the high court in a country where more than half the 192 million people identify themselves as having African descent.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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