The Vocabulary of Right Under the Indonesian Constitution: A Hohfeldian Analysis

Adis Nur Hayati, Dewi Analis Indriyani, Nurangga Firmanditya, Harison Citrawan


This article demonstrates how the Indonesian Constitutional Court interprets the term ‘right’ when deciding issue-level questions involving constitutional doctrine. In doing so, we employ the Hohfeldian scheme that configures right into four different meanings of claim right, privilege, power, and immunity. By looking at the molecular configuration of rights in the context of freedom of religion, natural resource control, educational policies, and fair trial, this we contend that the right under the constitution is interpreted by the Court in a dynamic-yet-configured fashion. In this sense, ‘dynamic’ implies that the Court’s interpretation does not adhere to a fixed or consistent vocabulary, while ‘configured’ suggests that the vocabulary of right is fundamentally configured by both (1) non-relational liberty and (2) power that provides intervention, limitations, or even change over the nature of liberty into liability (i.e., duty to refrain from acting in a certain way). It is manifest that right is hardly expounded by the Court when the term is juxtaposed with any relevant governmental duties and powers. This demonstrates a judicial fabrication of a flexible legal concept used by the judicial authority to justify certain normative objectives.


Constitution; Hohfeld; Interpretation; Legal Concept; Right

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