Humble and Ordinary figure
On November 9, 2023, the constitutional judge proposed by the Supreme Court, Suhartoyo, officially replaced Anwar Usman as Chief Justice. Suhartoyo's election was carried out through consensus deliberation of the constitutional justices at the Deliberation Meeting on Thursday (9/11/2023) morning.
Suhartoyo previously served as a judge at the Denpasar High Court. Then, He was appointed to replace Ahmad Fadlil Sumadi, whose term of office ended on January 7, 2015. On January 17, 2015, this man born in Sleman took the oath before President Joko Widodo. In 2020, the Supreme Court extended Suhartoyo's term as constitutional judge.
Living in a modest family, Suhartoyo never thought of being a law enforcer. He was concerned about political studies when he was in high school. He was interested in working in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. However, he failed to be a political student. The failure brought a blessing in disguise. He then enrolled in law studies. “I didn’t regret my failure to enroll in political studies. Political studies are similar to law studies. The orientation is not much different,” said he, who married Sutyowati.
As time went by, he was getting more interested in law studies. He was then interested in being a prosecutor instead of a justice. However, he also participated in the justice test because his friends asked him to register. His fate brought him to justice. Among their friends, he was the only one who passed the test. “In fact, I passed the test while my friends who asked me to register failed. I started my career as a justice then. A sense of pride began to appear after becoming a justice,” said he, an enthusiast in golf and rallied.
In 1986, he served as a prospective justice (calon hakim) in Bandar Lampung district court. His career as district court justice continued in several regions until 2011, as follows: Curup district court (1989), Metro district court (1995), Tangerang district court (2001), and Bekasi district court (2006). He was also served at Denpasar High Court and appointed as Deputy Chief of Kotabumi District Court in 1999, Chief of Praya District Court (2004), Deputy Chief of Pontianak District Court (2009), Chief of Pontianak District Court (2010), Deputy Chief of East Jakarta district court (2011), and Chief of South Jakarta district court (2011).
The Constitutional Court is an entirely new workplace for him with three children. Different authorities possessed by the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court made him learn much. The Supreme Court verdict is only applied to an individual or people who filed a petition, while the Constitutional Court verdict applies to all Indonesian citizens. He claimed that he learned quickly and should adapt at the Constitutional Court. “I found one difference in the context of the verdict script. The Constitutional Court used more subtle language than the Supreme Court, which used sharp language. As for the session, I didn’t find any problem,” explained him.
These different authorities made him adapat as a Constitutional Justice. It was not difficult for him to do his duty and cooperate with other Constitutional Justices. “Other Constitutional Justices helped me to adapt. I learned much from them,” said him.
Believe in the Selection Committee
In 2015, his election as a constitutional justice sparked controversy. However, his work as a Justice for seven years and eleven months proves his competence and integrity. In several decisions, he is often in the dissenting opinion camp. For example, the latest decision regarding the material review of the age limits for presidential and vice presidential candidates, namely the controversial Decision Number 90/PUU-XXI/2023. In this decision, he argued that the Petitioner, who requested that the norms of Article 169 letter q of the Election Law be interpreted as fully in the petitum of his petition, which was not for his interests, was also irrelevant to be given legal standing to act as a petitioner in the petition. So, the legal considerations of different opinions (dissenting opinions) in Case Number 29/PUU-XXI/2023 and Case Number 51/PUU-XXI/2023, mutatis mutandis are an inseparable part of the legal considerations in the different opinions in the said petitions.
Comfortably Being Ordinary Man
Suhartoyo’s modest attitude makes him less dependent on his position. According to him, Constitutional Justice is a high position and uncomfortable due to the abundant facility Constitutional Justice gets. “I am comfortable with being ordinary,” said him.
Regarding his family support, Suhartoyo explained that his children thought about being Constitutional Justice when controversies surrounded his candidacy.
“When I was condemned during the candidacy, my children thought on why being Constitutional Justice if my dignity abused. ‘Better to be an ordinary person’, said my children back then,” said him.
He hoped his existence as the complement of Constitutional Justice’s nine pillars could fulfill the justice sought by justice seekers. “I served for fulfilling justice seekers’ justice,”