Ses­sions draws state fire

AG com­ments on Hawaii, judge who blocked travel ban

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By AU­DREY McAVOY

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s Demo­cratic law­mak­ers on Thurs­day crit­i­cized At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions af­ter he ex­pressed amaze­ment on a ra­dio show that a “judge sit­ting on an is­land in the Pa­cific” could stop the pres­i­dent’s travel ban.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono re­sponded by try­ing to give Ses­sions a civics les­son on Twit­ter, say­ing Hawaii has been a U.S. state for 58 years.

The se­na­tor said later in a tele­phone in­ter­view the re­marks showed a lack of aware­ness about the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers be­tween the ju­di­ciary and ex­ec­u­tive branches.

U.S. Dis­trict Judge Derrick Wat­son last month blocked

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der pro­hibit­ing new visas for peo­ple from six Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries and tem­po­rar­ily halt­ing the U.S. refugee pro­gram. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­pealed the rul­ing.

Ses­sions told the “Mark Levin Show” he’s con­fi­dent the pres­i­dent will pre­vail with his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ap­peal of Wat­son’s travel ban rul­ing.

“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.

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

“Why isn’t a fed­eral judge from Hawaii as able as any other judge from any­where to is­sue rul­ings?” Hirono asked.

She told Ses­sion on Twit­ter “we won’t suc­cumb to your dog whis­tle pol­i­tics.”

Both Hirono and Sen. Brian Schatz em­pha­sized that Ses­sions voted as a se­na­tor to con­firm Wat­son as a judge.

Schatz chided Ses­sions more on Twit­ter by telling him the is­land where Wat­son made the rul­ing is named Oahu. “It’s my home. Have some re­spect,” he said.

U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment spokesman Ian Prior said in an email that Ses­sions was ques­tion­ing one judge’s abil­ity to block the pres­i­dent’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der for the travel ban.

“Hawaii is, in fact, an is­land in the Pa­cific — a beau­ti­ful one where the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s grand­daugh­ter was born,” Prior said.

“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.”

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.”

A clerk for the U.S. Dis­trict Court in Hawaii said Wat­son de­clined to com­ment.

Associated Press

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions pre­pares to speak Tues­day in Wash­ing­ton.


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