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Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Supreme Court Of Canada, Jean Bodin, Parliamentary Sovereignty

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

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May 15, 2008
Basic Concepts
Modern concept first introduced by Jean Bodin (1583)
Highest authority
oIn every polity (territorial governed area) a person, group, or institution
must have supreme power
Although, this power can also be said to be held by the people
Did not exist in the middle ages in Europe
Original meaning: sovereignty is undivided; it is not shared
The Sovereign Power:
Makes laws
Provides justice
“Owns” all land
Conducts foreign relations
Acts as or can remove governing executive
Sovereign Monarchies
oPower held by one individual
Parliamentary Sovereignty
oPower held by representative assembly
“Popular” Sovereignty
oPower ultimately held by all individuals
In most modern countries, “sovereignty” is complex (i.e.: delegated or shared)
Ex: in the U.K. (and Canada), “sovereignty” is said to consist of the following:
oSymbolic Sovereignty
oLegal Sovereignty
oBut there are those in the U.K. (and Canada), who say that what really
counts is “popular sovereignty” since the people “elect Parliament”
Federations like Canada make things even more complex:
o“Sovereignty” is further divided between the federal government and the
Ex: Courts; Canadian Supreme Court can also be said to have
“sovereign” powers
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