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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 ?
Fiscal challenge " I have made the government's intention clear that we don't intend, we don't subscribe to the philosophy of taxing people with a retroactive date and, therefore, we are not going to use this power even though it is a sovereign power vested in the legislature," he said.
Both authors are keen to stress that neither freedom nor the sovereign power that simultaneously constrains and enables it is ever absolute.
Argentina has accused the judge of overstepping his bounds and siding with the holdouts, and said any contempt charge would have no consequences for a sovereign power.
Rather, Massachusetts residents should have the right to exercise their sovereign power on a question of economic and social importance.
South Sudan should adopt a federal and decentralised system whereby the sovereign power is invested in the hands of people and the rule of law is given an interim constitutional protection, the diaspora group said.
But he said Suthep risked uprooting the whole tree as they could not govern the country if the government was ousted through such means, because people, who hold the sovereign power, would not accept it.
The LA Act is based on the principle of eminent domain' which is essentially an attribute of sovereign power of a state, which gives state power to takeover the private land for public purpose, with or without the consent of the owner of the land and also without defining the 'public purpose', and this right of state could not be challenged.
Central to the argument is the considerations of iuirisprudentia and modern natural law as founded by Hugo Grotius and Samuel van Pufendorf in relation to such themes as religious pluralism in the State; the definition of the obligations and limits of legislation, and the rights of sovereign power in religion; the rejection of the confessional State and the use of force against revolutionary movements of the human conscience; the justification of the right to resist; and the elaboration of the characteristics and limits of the new notion of civil tolerance (derived from the voluntaristic and anti-Hobbesian perspective of Barbeyrac in his commentary on Pufendorf using Locke's work and the theory of obligation).
By theorizing the doctrinal rules related to the extra-territorial application of the Charter, this article concludes that rights, as reflected in Charkaoui and subsequent caselaw, continue to offer only a limited mode of resistance against sovereign power.
The subject of this study is the highly esteemed, culturally towering Emperor Taizong of the Tang, who ruled China from 626-49, whose legacy includes writings that have been studied through various lenses; but Chen (Chinese poetry and thought, UCLA) explains in his introduction that his focus here is on "those [writings] that speak directly to the relationship between cultural form and sovereign power, as well as on the question of how the Tang negotiated dynastic identity through literary stylistics.
The hard question of how states can be held accountable for abuses of sovereign power is one that is disappointingly absent in Jackson's discussion, despite recent developments in international society and law toward a conception of retributive justice for victims of state violence.
The conduct with which we are concerned involves archetypical acts of government or sovereign power," argued Ms Montgomery.