Sovereign Citizen Law & Legal Definition


Sovereign citizen is a term used to refer to a political movement which grew out of a belief in government abuses of power. Members often refuse to hold social security cards or driver's licenses and avoid using zip codes. Sovereign citizens believe that U.S. citizens are either "Fourteenth Amendment citizens" (who are subject to the federal and state laws and taxes) or "sovereign citizens", who are subject only to common law or "constitutional law" (or both), but are not bound to obey statutory law. No court has ever upheld these claims. Sovereign citizens may also be referred to as "freemen" or "common law citizens".

A sovereign citizen is defined by the Anti-Defamation League as follows:

"The "sovereign citizen" movement is a loosely organized collection of groups and individuals who have adopted a right-wing anarchist ideology originating in the theories of a group called the Posse Comitatus in the 1970s. Its adherents believe that virtually all existing government in the United States is illegitimate and they seek to "restore" an idealized, minimalist government that never actually existed. To this end, sovereign citizens wage war against the government and other forms of authority using "paper terrorism" harassment and intimidation tactics, and occasionally resorting to violence."