Hawaii lawmakers have been criticizing U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions who spoke dismissively Wednesday about the state of Hawaii. He made the comment while slamming a federal judge who implemented a temporary restraining order last month on President Donald Trump’s new travel ban.
Sessions referred to the Hawaii federal judge Derrick Watson as "a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific" during an interview on “The Mark Levin Show” that was aired Wednesday, CNN reported.
"We won a case in Virginia recently that was a nicely-written order that just demolished, I thought, all the arguments that some of the other people have been making. 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. 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.
Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin reacted to Sessions' remarks Thursday. He criticized Sessions for his comments and said he had been wrong to dismiss the federal judge as he holds equal power under the U.S. constitution like any other state.
“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,” Chin's statement read.
Hawaii senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz responded to Session’s comments and clarified that Hawaii is a state just like other states in the United States.
Hirono tweeted saying: "Hey Jeff Sessions, this island in the Pacific has been the 50th state for going on 58 years. And we won't succumb to your dog whistle politics."
Hirono also pointed out that Sessions had voted earlier for Watson whose decision he has been criticizing publicly now.
Session’s comment was clarified by Ian Prior, a spokesman for the Justice Department and he told CNN: “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.”