Under modern democratic theory, the font of sovereignty springs from the people; however, traces of its past as a power emanating from the Crown continue to haunt the domestic and international status of sub-sovereign legal entities such as U.S. Territories. Quiescent sovereignty describes that which is possessed by the people of the Territories; a sovereignty that is theirs, but that is wielded on their behalf by the federal government. Although fiduciary responsibilities attach to this arrangement, cycles of attention/neglect are the modus vivendi. Bilateral relationships between the Territories and the federal government are varied, but such differences should not impact their voices in Congress. Institutional adjustments to provide more impetus to Territorial issues are readily possible. Just as the European Union came to realize the importance of sub-national input at the federal level by creating the European Union’s Committee of the Regions, so too should the U.S. House of Representatives create a Permanent Select Committee on Territorial Affairs chaired by a Territorial Delegate.
Michael J. Kelly,
Quiescent Sovereignty of U.S. Territories,
105 Marq. L. Rev. 501
Available at: https://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/mulr/vol105/iss3/3