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Minister
 Ellen Gracie Northfleet


In office
March 30, 2006 – April 24, 2008
Nominated by Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Preceded by Nelson Jobim
Succeeded by Gilmar Mendes

Born February 16, 1948 (1948-02-16) (age 61)
Rio de Janeiro
Religion Roman Catholic

Ellen Gracie Northfleet (born February 16, 1948, Rio de Janeiro) is a Brazilian judge, and the first female to be appointed to the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court and its first female president.

She earned her LL.B from the Faculty of Law of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in 1970, and later pursued a graduate degree in Social Anthropology at the same university.

Her public career began in 1971, clerking for the Rio Grande do Sul State General Counsel. On November 7, 1973, she joined the Ministério Público Federal, where she remained in the capacity of Federal Prosecutor until 1989.

Gracie Northfleet was appointed to the Supreme Federal Court on November 23, 2000, the first woman to be named to the court. On March 15, 2006 she was chosen to head this court by a vote of its justices. She substitutes Nelson Jobim, who retired on March 30, 2006, presumably to run for office. She was 58 years of age at the time of her election.

In May 2006, Gracie Northfleet came very close to becoming the first acting female president, when Luis Inacio Lula da Silva was travelling abroad. According to Brazilian law, when the President is away from the country the next in succession becomes interim president. However, since elections were drawing near, anyone who occupied the post would be disqualified from running for office, so the vice-president, Jose Alencar, and the speaker of the house, Aldo Rebelo, the next in succession and who were considering running, also left Brazil. This meant that Gracie would be interim for at least 10 hours. However, President of the Senate Renan Calheiros, who was not up for re-election and preceded Gracie in the order of succession, stayed behind.

She was also a Fulbright Scholar and assisted in the development of the United States Law Library of Congress Global legal information network project.

External links

Judge, Tribunal Regional Federal da 4a Regiao, Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Information from the US Library of Congress.)

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