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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 ?
In sum, this Article concludes that, as a matter of state sovereignty, a state court may exercise jurisdiction only over a defendant that engaged in conduct that significantly implicated interests within the sphere of the state's sovereign power, that is, the health, safety, and general welfare of its people.
Such sovereign power is moreover not limited to the state.
The fact that human beings are defined by their beastly behavior (especially in the state of nature) is precisely what gives rise to the possibility of sovereign power for Hobbes, as fear enables the creation of an artificial monster (the state) that can enforce the law and prevent men from behaving as wolves.
As it is established that sovereign power is given to the sovereign authority through some kind of contract, the question that begs our attention is why there was a need to create sovereign authorities to which all sovereign powers are delegated.
Therefore, the 'generalised biopolitical border' refers to a sort of global archipelago, where sovereign power produces 'bare life' through decisions of inclusion and exclusion on a global scale (2009, p.
Egypt brings into bold relief a contradictory setup characteristic of the paradigmatic secular states: "religion" as defined by the state is placed in a private space, whereas the state sees the need to regulate and authorize family as part of its sovereign power to maintain and regulate the public order.
On the basis of an examination of the link between biopower and sovereign power I argue that Agamben's argument on Foucault's understanding of biopower is similar to a logic of supplementarity.
And, similarly, why should we relate what is at stake in all the above questions to the historico-ontological unfolding of the inclusively exclusive capture of bare life carried out by sovereign power? Shouldn't we rather attempt to think the connection between being and the sovereign relation--the being-involved in the sovereign relation--differently, that is, beyond Heidegger?
Patton discusses the intricate arguments present in Foucault, to determine whether Agamben's 'correction' is ultimately necessary, in order to understand where in historical praxis or thought the transformation from sovereign power to biopower occurred, and when biopolitics potentially took hold.
The court said that while it never had heard of such a situation before, surely the sovereign power of a state extends to planes flying above it.
The standard account of international human rights law is that its overarching mission is to protect universal features of what it means to be a human being from the exercise of sovereign power. This article offers an alternative account of the field, one that locates its normative dimensions in its capacity to speak to distributive injustices produced by how international law brings legal order to international political reality.
Mr Owen is not a republican but believes the Commons should remain the sovereign power of the state and not be "summoned" by an unelected Monarch.