In the United States, the sovereign powers are divided between the federal government and the state governments. The Constitution lays out the specific powers granted to the federal government, such as the power to regulate commerce, coin money, and maintain an army and navy. These powers are known as “enumerated powers” and are listed in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. Additionally, the federal government has implied powers, which are not specifically listed in the Constitution but are necessary for the government to carry out its enumerated powers.
The states also have their own sovereign powers, known as “reserved powers.” These include the power to regulate commerce within the state, establish and maintain schools, and administer justice. In addition, the 10th Amendment to the Constitution states that any powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.
Sovereign immunity is also a principle that comes under the umbrella of sovereign rights. It is the legal doctrine that the sovereign can not be held liable for its actions and can not be sued without its consent. This principle is often invoked by the federal and state governments in the United States to shield them from being sued in certain circumstances.
It’s important to note that the sovereign rights are not absolute, they are limited by the constitution and the bill of rights. The government’s actions are subject to the constitutional limitations on government power and the rights of citizens.
Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, also known as the Enumerated Powers Clause, lays out the specific powers that are granted to the federal government. These powers include the ability to:
Lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;
Borrow money on the credit of the United States;
Regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
Establish a uniform rule of naturalization and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
Coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
Provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
Establish post offices and post roads;
Promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
Constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
Define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
Declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
Raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
Provide and maintain a navy;
Make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
Provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
Provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;
Make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
This list of powers is not exhaustive and there are other powers that are not explicitly enumerated in Article I, Section 8 but are implied by these clauses. These include the power to regulate immigration, the power to regulate the environment and the power to protect intellectual property.