The MK is undergoing dramatic changes this year. Back in March, when Mahfud MD stepped down from the Mahkamah Konstitusi, the DPR began the process of appointing a replacement and publicly held fit-and-proper tests for several candidates. The DPR finally decided upon Pak Arief Hidayat, former law professor at Diponegoro University in Semarang.
Now, with Ahmad Sodiki’s resignation, President SBY had to find a replacement candidate. He selected former Justice & Human Rights Minister Patrialis Ackbar. As a former minister, Patrialis fits the pattern of presidential appointees to the MK.
However, as with Hidayat, his appointment seems to be controversial. According to The Jakarta Globe, the Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) has criticized the process of the appointment for not being transparent. Indeed, this is the first mention of Patrialis’ candidacy, much less his appointment, that I have seen.
On the other hand, the legal requirements for MK appointments are quite vague. Constitutional Court Law Art. 19 states that the nomination must be “transparent” and “participative,” while Art. 20 stipulates that it should be “objective” and “accountable.” Moreover, it’s not clear if there is a remedy for violating these principles. The Constitutional Court would not unseat one of its members.
While the terms of the other justices are set to expire in August, most of the serving justices are either younger than 67 (the mandatory retirement age) or are only in their first terms. As such, it seems unlikely that we’ll see significantly more change on the court.