Why Governor Ames is wrong about Desix’s sovereignty

(L-R): Commander Cody and Crosshair in a scene from "STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH", season 2 exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Commander Cody and Crosshair in a scene from "STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH", season 2 exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved. /

In episode three of The Bad Batch season two, audiences are introduced to the Separatist world of Desix, with it’s Govenor, Tawni Ames. They are going about their business when an Imperial shuttle arrives, with a governor declaring his power over the city. Ames rejects his idea of the Empire having power over Desix, But, unfortunately for Ames, she’s wrong.

Legally speaking, the Empire probably does in fact have jurisdiction over the planet. And it’s is all to do with how the Republic saw the Separatists.

The Separatists broke away from the Republic, and attempted to declare themselves a sovereign state. They saw themselves as beyond the jurisdiction of the Republic, and fought to maintain their own right of sovereignty.

The Republic saw things a bit differently. Because they never saw the seceding Separatist planets as legitimately leaving the Republic, legally and jurisdictionally speaking the Republic still held power on those planets. In a practical sense, the Republic didn’t hold power, but legally they did.  The Republic still maintained sovereignty on all of the planets that claimed to have left it.

The Clone War was fought to determine who had the army needed to enforce their will of  sovereignty in the galaxy, and in the end that winner was the Republic.

An episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars helps back up this view. The opening of ‘A Friend in Need’ sees a peace negation between the Republic and Separatists take place. Voe Atell, one of the members of the Separatist delegation, demands that the Republic sees the Separatist state as legitimate, meaning that the Republic saw the Separatists as illegitimate, troublesome rebels.

When the Republic transitioned into the Empire, it would have kept all of the claims of sovereignty that the Republic maintained, including the Separatist world of Desix. This means that now the Empire has jurisdiction over the planet, they just have to find the means of enforcing it. In a surprisingly uncharacteristic move for the Empire, they first attempt to peacefully enforce Ames’ removal and the installation of an Imperial Governor, but have send clones to back their legal thinking.

So when Ames claims that the Empire doesn’t have any power over Desix, legally speaking she isn’t correct. While it might have felt like she and her planet left the Republic, and that she was the chief lawmaker on the planet, this was an illusion. The same logic can be applied to the Imperial convoys she attacks, she claims they were a hostile occupation force, but from the Empire’s perspective they were legally on Imperial territory. It’s just in that instance Ames had the military upper hand to defend her claims.

The Republic (now Empire) would have still held the galactic paperwork that said Desix was part of it, and maintained it’s right to enforce law on the planet. Rebellion isn’t a legal method of secession if you don’t have the army to back up that claim. Ames finds this out the hard way, and she pays the ultimate price for it.