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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 ?
Both contracts include language about the tribe waiving its legal immunity as a sovereign nation.
HNA must be obtained before the operation of spectrum-dependent systems and equipment within a sovereign nation. The combatant commander is responsible for coordinating requests with sovereign nations within his or her area of responsibility.
The vice-president replied: "Israel can determine for itself - it's a sovereign nation - what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else."
The region of what is today referred to as Southeast Asia is home to eleven sovereign nation states, viz.
Citing its status as a sovereign nation and invoking various clerical privileges, the Holy See had asked the judge to prevent attorneys from asking Levada questions beyond his knowledge of child abuse allegations within the Portland archdiocese during his tenure as archbishop.
"We're a sovereign nation in Canada, and they're a sovereign nation in the U.S.," said Gwen LaFreniere, chief executive officer of the Dakota Plains Wahpeton Nation in Manitoba.
It claims that as a sovereign nation, it has the right to do so, and that they must start creating the energy infrastructure that will be needed when their finite supply of oil runs out in a matter of decades.
Third-Patty Blockade: Protects a company with international investments from any third-party sovereign nation threatening military force that prevents the insured from removing insured assets from the host company.
Clearly, the time has come for us to take additional action that will insure our survival as an industry and a sovereign nation. Personally, I think it is time to wage war in the form of tariffs and a "Buy American" campaign Like none other in the history of our nation.
empire's most recent attempt to "democratize" a sovereign nation by dropping bombs, deposing its (previously U.S.-backed) leaders, and killing innocent people.
``All of these are crucial areas which define a sovereign nation and the moment they are taken away sovereignty is go ne.''
We are invading a sovereign nation and, lo and behold, the people are defending their country.

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