The SDNY seems to hear a lot of high-profile civil and criminal cases that many might argue verge on jurisdictional overreach or extraterritorial jurisdiction. In any case they certainly see a lot of "juicy" matters, and seem to be especially powerful as a branch of the judiciary, and to like to throw their weight around. What is it about this section of the court system that results in this peculiar phenomenon, captured in that it is widely referred to as the "Sovereign District of New York"?
The SDNY seems to hear a lot of high-profile civil and criminal cases ... What is it about this section of the court system that results in this peculiar phenomenon, captured in that it is widely referred to as the "Sovereign District of New York"?
There are a lot of people living and working in the SDNY, and a lot of them have a very high profile. Perhaps most critically, the district notably contains the center of the US financial sector. Here's the second paragraph of the district's Wikipedia article:
Because it covers Manhattan, the Southern District of New York has long been one of the most active and influential federal trial courts in the United States. It often has jurisdiction over America's largest financial institutions and prosecution of white-collar crime and other federal crimes. Because of its age and influence, it is sometimes colloquially called the "Mother Court" or the "Sovereign District of New York." The district has had several prominent judges on its bench, including Learned Hand, Michael Mukasey, and Sonia Sotomayor, and many of the U.S. Attorneys for the district have been prominent American legal and political figures, such as Elihu Root, Henry L. Stimson, Robert Morgenthau, Rudy Giuliani, James Comey, Michael J. Garcia, and Preet Bharara.
As to the topic of extraterritorial jurisdiction, that is generally a feature of certain acts of congress. If any district court exceeds the authority granted to it by congress, it can be overruled by the appeals court (in this case, the second circuit) or the supreme court if the party harmed by the judicial overreach appeals the ruling.