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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 ?
States are not just under pressure from the nation within the state but are also under pressure from outside since they might lose some of their sovereignty to larger regional entities or multinational and international organizations.
The Trump Administration has given clear signals that now are the time for Israel to dream big," said Sam Solomon of Sovereignty Now.
Trade conditions are perpetually changing, whilst sovereignty is our rock which makes us who and what we are.
Shelby County justified the equal sovereignty principle in conventionalist terms.
Most scholars of jurisdiction have rejected state sovereignty as a meaningful basis for personal jurisdiction.
In an incredulous dissent, Justice Ginsburg opined that the Court's brand-new equal sovereignty principle was not only utterly made up, but also "capable of much mischief.
Part I, "Neoliberalism and the Paradox of Sovereignty in the Caribbean," begins with an essay by Alex Dupuy which is highly critical of the experience of sovereignty and democracy in Haiti; he argues that capitalism has "hijacked" (p.
The cession of sovereignty, which the Treaty enabled, is the very foundation of our rights and of our very existence as a modern, democratic nation (as opposed to the undemocratic, racist and feudal option that would ensue if the Waitangi Tribunal's recommendation should be accepted by this feckless government).
Sovereignty building creates, reinforces, and expands the constitutive parts of sovereignty, which have previously been sidelined in state building.
Critique: An informed and informative work that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Jamaica's Difficult Subjects: Negotiating Sovereignty in Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Criticism" is an impressive and original study that is enhanced with the inclusion of an eight page Bibliography and a comprehensive Index.
A Review Article of Laughing at Leviathan: Sovereignty and Audience in West Papua
Sovereignty After Empire: Comparing the Middle East and Central Asia