What Are the Sovereign Non-Sovereign and Quasi-Sovereign Interests of States ?
In Alfred L. Snapp & Son, Inc. v. Puerto Rico, 458 U.S. 592, 601, 102 S. Ct. 3260, 73 L. Ed. 2d 995 (1982), the Supreme Court noted that states may have three types of interests: those purely sovereign, those non-sovereign, and those that are quasi-sovereign.
The first type consists of the state's power to develop and enforce civil and criminal codes, and the right to demand recognition from other sovereigns, such as might occur in a border dispute.
The second type encompasses a state's proprietary interests and its pursuit of the interests of private parties, in which case the state is only a nominal party.
The third category, quasi-sovereign interests, "consist of a set of interests that the State has in the well-being of its populace." 458 U.S. at 601-602.
As noted by the Court in that opinion, within the spectrum of interests that the Court has regarded as quasi-sovereign is included a state's interest in the economic well-being of its people. 458 U.S. at 606 (quoting Georgia v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 324 U.S. 439, 65 S. Ct. 716, 89 L. Ed. 1051 (1945) (in which the state of Georgia had asserted that a large number of railroad companies had conspired to fix rates in a discriminatory way that violated federal antitrust laws)).
The Court, while pointing out that a state claiming such standing must allege more "than injury to an identifiable group of individual residents," also stated that "the indirect effects of the injury must be considered as well in determining whether the State has alleged injury to a sufficiently substantial segment of its population." 458 U.S. at 607.