Indonesia Constitutional Court Constitutional Interpretation Methodology (2003-2008)

Fritz Edwadr Siregar


Nine Indonesian Constitutional Justices have the authority to annul a law drafted by 550 Parliament members and the President. The Constitutional  Court of the Republic of Indonesia (“the Court”), particularly in deciding cases  of judicial review, has the capability to declare words, sentences, paragraphs, articles or the law unconstitutional. Consequently, it is essential for the Court  to take into account legal arguments. The fundamental element of these legal arguments is constitutional interpretation, which serves as a parameter in determining constitutionality of the laws. However, in exercising its authority, the Court needs to interpret the Constitution as a  basis  for deciding  a case.  The standards for determining the constitutionality of a law must be the text of the Constitution, not what the judges would prefer the Constitution to mean. Constitutional supremacy necessarily assumes that a superior rule is what the Constitution says it is, not what the judges prefer it to be. [Craig R. Ducat: E3]. The Court period 2003–2008 were the Court’s the formative years, and as such are important to understand the methodology and interpretative approaches adopted by the Court. Many observers of the Court’s early decisions are still unsure of the overarching approach and methodology adopted by the Court. Thus, there is a need  for a close analysis and criticism of  the Court’s early decisions   to determine which methods and approaches it has adopted and whether these are appropriate in the Indonesian context. The Court has openly referred to the experiences of foreign jurisdiction in constitutional law, and therefore it would be appropriate to analyze the court’s decisions in a broader comparative context of constitutional interpretative approaches from around the  world.


Constitutional Interpretation; Judicial Review; Constitutional Court; Constitution

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