Sovereign Citizens

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There has to be some basis for people claiming that the laws of the land do not apply to them, but for the life of me, I can’t begin to understand it.

In: 89

Curious as well – I always just assumed they were just selfish pricks who are mad at the world for attention purposes via being contrarian

The basis is the tendency for people think there’s “one weird trick” to getting around their problems. In this case, they hear from someone that some obscure legal rule or tradition actually makes our entire social order invalid and they don’t have to follow it. It sounds legit enough to them, so they act like the laws don’t apply

Problem is, the social order isn’t something that exists with supernatural rules. It’s whatever is enacted and enforced in reality right now. If some old rule or tradition is no longer used, then it’s no longer valid. Besides that they’re usually misunderstanding the implications of the outdated things their logic relies on anyway.

So in short how does it happen? Twisted facts + wishful thinking

A Canadian Judge [published the book](https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abqb/doc/2012/2012abqb571/2012abqb571.html) on Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument [“OPCA”] Litigants (aka many things including Sovereign Citizens) in one of his decisions. His summary is:

>These persons employ a collection of techniques and arguments promoted and sold by ‘gurus’ (as hereafter defined) to disrupt court operations and to attempt to frustrate the legal rights of governments, corporations, and individuals.

>OPCA litigants do not express any stereotypic beliefs other than a general rejection of court and state authority; nor do they fall into any common social or professional association. Arguments and claims of this nature emerge in all kinds of legal proceedings and all levels of Courts and tribunals. This group is unified by:

>1. a characteristic set of strategies (somewhat different by group) that they employ,
>2. specific but irrelevant formalities and language which they appear to believe are (or portray as) significant, and
>3. the commercial sources from which their ideas and materials originate.

>This category of litigant shares one other critical characteristic: they will only honour state, regulatory, contract, family, fiduciary, equitable, and criminal obligations if they feel like it. And typically, they don’t.

I think that’s the best short description of the various groups that include most Sovereign Citizens.

In the US, often it involves the Magna Carta (yes, that 900 year old document from England). These people believe that a sworn oath to a British lord absolves them of the duties and responsibilities of a citizen because a lot of our law is carried over from British common law. On their court documents (because it conveniently comes up when they are being charged with a crime or asked to pay taxes), they often have multiple names. One for their legal entity, and one for their personal being (and sometimes one with a title).

The Magna Carta isn’t the only basis for these fictitious legal loopholes. But similar tactics are used (using an older document like the US Declaration of Independence) to argue to override laws. It never works, judges see it and immediately put the smack down. If you want to see some videos, do a youtube search for

Leonard French Sovereign Citizen.

He reads legal cases line by line and explains what they mean.

The basis is a fundamental misunderstanding of the legal system in whatever country they’re in.

Sovereign citizen ideology mostly rests on the–false–idea that you can categorize yourself as something other than a citizen and thereby not be subject to the laws that govern citizens.

There’s a better writeup [here](https://www.sog.unc.edu/sites/www.sog.unc.edu/files/Sov%20citizens%20quick%20guide%20Nov%2013.pdf) that provides a nice layman overview.