AG Sessions backtracks after criticizing judge on 'island in the - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

AG Sessions backtracks after criticizing judge on 'island in the Pacific'

(Image: George Lee/The Star-Advertiser/via AP) (Image: George Lee/The Star-Advertiser/via AP)
(Image: AP) (Image: AP)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is getting heat after telling a radio host that he's "amazed" a federal judge in Hawaii was able to block the president's revised travel ban.

"I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power," Sessions said, in a radio interview. "The president issued a good order. ... We need extreme vetting."

Sessions made the comments in an interview with radio host Mark Levin, and they generated rebuke Thursday from several members of Hawaii's Congressional delegation.

"Hey Jeff Sessions, this #IslandinthePacific has been the 50th state for going on 58 years. And we won't succumb to your dog whistle politics," U.S. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said on Twitter.

In a statement, Hirono added that she's "frankly dumbfounded" at Sessions' comments. 

"The suggestion that being from Hawaii somehow disqualifies Judge Watson from performing his Constitutional duty is dangerous, ignorant, and prejudiced," Hirono said. "But we shouldn’t be surprised. This is just the latest in the Trump Administration’s attacks against the very tenets of our Constitution and democracy.”

Also on Twitter. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, told Sessions: "You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It's my home. Have some respect."

State Attorney General Doug Chin also reacted to Sessions' statements.

“President Trump previously called a federal judge in California a so-called judge. Now U.S. Attorney General Sessions appears to dismiss a federal judge in Hawaii as just a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific," Chin said, in a news release. "Our Constitution created a separation of powers in the United States for a reason. Our federal courts, established under article III of the Constitution, are co-equal partners with Congress and the President. It is disappointing AG Sessions does not acknowledge that.”

Following the backlash, the U.S. Justice Department sought to clarify Sessions' statement, saying that, "Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific -- a beautiful one where the Attorney General's granddaughter was born. The point, however, is that there is a problem when a flawed opinion by a single judge can block the president's lawful exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe."

Last month, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson granted Hawaii's request to block the president's revised travel ban, preventing the federal government from suspending new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries and freezing the nation's refugee program.

Watson, who was nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama, subsequently extended the order.

In the radio interview, Sessions said he's confident that the travel ban will prevail in the Supreme Court.

He also said it's important that judges "follow the law, not make law."

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved. 

  • NewsMore>>

  • GBHS overwhelmed with drop-offs

    GBHS overwhelmed with drop-offs

    Wednesday, June 28 2017 8:09 PM EDT2017-06-29 00:09:08 GMT

    Last Friday 113 dogs and cats were taken to the humane society’s shelters that was record but that record was broken Tuesday with 120 animals. "We have been inundated with animals.

    More >>

    Last Friday 113 dogs and cats were taken to the humane society’s shelters that was record but that record was broken Tuesday with 120 animals. "We have been inundated with animals.

    More >>
  • ALDOT closures could cause holiday traffic delays

    ALDOT closures could cause holiday traffic delays

    Wednesday, June 28 2017 8:08 PM EDT2017-06-29 00:08:54 GMT

    The Alabama Department of Transportation usually restricts road work on holiday weekends. But this 4th of July weekend is different.

    More >>

    The Alabama Department of Transportation usually restricts road work on holiday weekends. But this 4th of July weekend is different. It’s all a part of that continuing work on the I-20/59 bridge replacement project.

    More >>
  • Teen indicted in homicide that happened hours after Magic City Classic

    Teen indicted in homicide that happened hours after Magic City Classic

    Wednesday, June 28 2017 8:07 PM EDT2017-06-29 00:07:22 GMT

    The murder indictment against 18-year-old Deante Ford was just filed Wednesday with the Jefferson County Circuit court. Ford is charged with the death of 20-year-old DeMarcus Bennett back on October 29 of last year.

    More >>

    The murder indictment against 18-year-old Deante Ford was just filed Wednesday with the Jefferson County Circuit court. Ford is charged with the death of 20-year-old DeMarcus Bennett back on October 29 of last year.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly