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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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:


Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in his message that the Turkish parliament was established with a great struggle and it became the most concrete manifestation of the national sovereignty.
LAHORE, 25 May, 2009 (Balochistan Times) -- Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan (JI) Secretary General, Liaquat Baloch has urged the government to stop Swat operation immediately for the sake of national sovereignty and solidarity.
Rulings by NAFTA tribunals already have begun mimicking the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights, the judicial bodies of the European Union that have been leading the attack on the national sovereignty of EU member states.
There was further evidence at the meeting that the UN is running the show, with Canada following their lead instead of exerting national sovereignty. One pro-family participant asked Adele Dion, the head spokesman on UN activities for DFAIT, which NGOs would be on the Canadian delegation to New York in March.
Our Constitution says, 'The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy in its relations with other states, the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination' (Section 7 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution).
In relevant remarks on Sunday, the Iranian foreign ministry underlined the necessity for maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity and national sovereignty, and voiced opposition to any plans to disintegrate the Arab country.
Islamabad, May 30 ( ANI ): Pakistan has expressed serious concern over a drone attack in its North Waziristan region by the US, saying that it violated its national sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law.
He added that if PKK members are unarmed refugees in Iraq, they are welcomed as Turkish nationals, but if they enter along with their weapons, establishing military bases, then it is violation to Iraq's national sovereignty.
It is likely that the committee would also draw up its recommendations and send these recommendations to the government for implementation to ensure national sovereignty and security.
The Istanbul Stock Exchange will be closed for trading on Friday due to a nationwide official holiday, the April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day.
Such a high degree of integration demands a coordinating bureaucracy and the sacrifice of significant amounts of national sovereignty to that bureaucracy." Yep, you read that right.
In a report published on the institute's website, director Austin Ruse said concerns about the United Nations' International Criminal Court overriding national sovereignty are not unfounded, especially when it comes to right-to-life issues.

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