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While it is impossible to know how many people in the United States identify as “Sovereign Citizens”, the number has boomed since the Covid-19 pandemic and the well-known ‘QAnon’ conspiracy theory. Although there is no centralized organization surrounding Sovereign Citizens nor common beliefs shared by all individuals, the basic conclusion is that the American Government established by the Founding Fathers, under a common law system, was secretly replaced during the U.S. Civil War. According to these conspiracy theorists the replacement government is premised on Admiralty law, or law of international commerce. Given this secret switch, Sovereign Citizens believe the Federal Government does not have jurisdiction over them and consider themselves exempt from United States law.

This post was originally published on the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution website on April 1, 2023. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.