(redirected from Sovereign nation)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Encyclopedia.


The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which an independent state is governed and from which all specific political powers are derived; the intentional independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign interference.

Sovereignty is the power of a state to do everything necessary to govern itself, such as making, executing, and applying laws; imposing and collecting taxes; making war and peace; and forming treaties or engaging in commerce with foreign nations.

The individual states of the United States do not possess the powers of external sovereignty, such as the right to deport undesirable persons, but each does have certain attributes of internal sovereignty, such as the power to regulate the acquisition and transfer of property within its borders. The sovereignty of a state is determined with reference to the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.

See: authority, bureaucracy, capacity, dominance, dominion, hierarchy, home rule, influence, jurisdiction, polity, predominance, primacy, regime, supremacy


in UK constitutional law, the doctrine that the monarch in Parliament is competent to make or unmake any law whatsoever and cannot be challenged in any court. The doctrine developed historically, its first major enunciation being in the BILL OF RIGHTS. Possible limitations are:
  1. (i) the ACTS OF UNION;
  2. (ii) the inability of Parliament to bind its successors;
  3. (iii) territorial competence, being a practical limitation rather than a legal one.

By far the most significant restraint is found in the law of the EUROPEAN UNION, which asserts its supremacy in the ever-expanding matters subject to the Treaties. Enforcement of an Act of Parliament has been enjoined on the basis of conflict with European law. The creation of the devolved Scottish Parliament has brought about a conventional restraint of Parliament exercising its powers on matters within the devolved powers:


SOVEREIGNTY. The union and exercise of all human power possessed in a state; it is a combination of all power; it is the power to do everything in a state without accountability; to make laws, to execute and to apply them: to impose and collect taxes, and, levy, contributions; to make war or peace; to form treaties of alliance or of commerce with foreign nations, and the like. Story on the Const. Sec. 207.
     2. Abstractedly, sovereignty resides in the body of the nation and belongs to the people. But these powers are generally exercised by delegation.
     3. When analysed, sovereignty is naturally divided into three great powers; namely, the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary; the first is the power to make new laws, and to correct and repeal the old; the second is the power to execute the laws both at home and abroad; and the last is the power to apply the laws to particular facts; to judge the disputes which arise among the citizens, and to punish crimes.
     4. Strictly speaking, in our republican forms of government, the absolute sovereignty of the nation is in the people of the nation; (q.v.) and the residuary sovereignty of each state, not granted to any of its public functionaries, is in the people of the state. (q.v.) 2 Dall. 471; and vide, generally, 2 Dall. 433, 455; 3 Dall. 93; 1 Story, Const. Sec. 208; 1 Toull. n. 20 Merl. Repert. h.t.

References in periodicals archive ?
But his line about attacking a sovereign nation that we'd never had an angry word with it.
But every sovereign nation has the right to self-defence and the right to order their troops to defend themselvesC*"
Otherwise we could wake up one day and discover that we are no longer a sovereign nation, but a branch office of the Franco-German empire.
The visit, it added, was "a flagrant violation of national sovereignty, an interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation and member of the United Nations, and is contrary to international norms and conventions" During his visit to Benghazi, eastern seat of the Libyan rebellion, Westerwelle said Kadhafi "had lost all legitimacy".
The Vatican's status as a sovereign nation is at issue.
As a society we may choose to recycle for other reasons such as a cleaner environment, to prevent long-term resource depletion or even, since we are no longer a sovereign nation, to avoid EU fines.
According to the state new agency Kabar, in his book "The March revolution: a historical choice of the people", the author analyzes the legitimate features and characteristics of the revolution, as well as his vision of prospects for Kyrgyzstan, as a sovereign nation in the world.
District Judge Michael Hogan to dismiss the city's lawsuit, arguing that the tribe, as a sovereign nation, has immunity from being sued - although the tribe had signed a waiver agreeing to be sued in state or federal court.
In peacetime, international spectrum governance requires military forces to obtain host nation permission to operate spectrum-dependent systems and equipment within a sovereign nation.
US Vice-President Joe Biden told ABC television the US could not "dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do".
The US cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do.
Sure Hamas are a bunch of Islamic psycho killers but Israel was supposed to be a sovereign nation which adheres to international law.