Monday, 18 December, 2017

Hawaii lawmakers criticize Sessions' island judge remarks

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin speaks outside federal court in Honolulu. Hawaii’s Democratic lawmakers are criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he expressed amazement on a radio show that a “judge Hawaii lawmakers criticize Sessions' island judge remarks
Melinda Barton | 21 April, 2017, 19:43

On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions angered politicians and the public alike when he commented that Hawaii - or as he called it, an "island in the Pacific" - shouldn't have the right to strike down executive orders from the president.

"We've got cases moving in the very, very liberal Ninth Circuit, who, they've been hostile to the order", Sessions said.

Judge Watson last month blocked Trump's executive order prohibiting new visas for people from six majority-Muslim countries and putting a temporary hold on the refugee program.

We are confident that the President will prevail on appeal and particularly in the Supreme Court, if not the Ninth Circuit. So this is a huge matter.

Sessions said the travel ban was "clearly" in Trump's "statutory and Constitutional power". The Department of Justice is now appealing the decision.

Hirono also said Sessions' remarks suggested he is prejudiced against Hawaii.

Later, Ian Prior, the DOJ's principal deputy director of public affairs, tried to...well, we don't exactly know what he was trying to do when he said, by way of explanation, "Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific-a lovely one, where the Attorney General's granddaughter was born. It's my home. Have some respect".

The Justice Department on Thursday clarified Sessions' comments, adding that his criticism of Watson remains valid.

"Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific - a attractive one where the Attorney General's granddaughter was born", Prior said.

Of course, the action wasn't the opinion of just one judge. Our Constitution created a separation of powers in the United States for a reason.

Douglas Chin, Hawaii's attorney general, said in a statement it was disappointing Sessions doesn't acknowledge that the federal courts are "co-equal partners with Congress and the president". "I think it's a fabulous place and had a granddaughter born there".