U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions dismissively referred to Hawaii as “an island in the Pacific” during an interview where he criticized the Hawaiian federal appeals court judge who blocked President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban.
Judge Derrick Watson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — which covers Alaska, Arizona, California and Hawaii — issued an order last month that stopped the ban against travel to the United States by residents of eight Muslim-majority countries. Critics of the ban claim Trump’s executive order is a form of religious discrimination, but the president has said that the travel ban is needed to protect the country from terrorists.
“We’ve got cases moving in the very, very liberal Ninth Circuit, who, they’ve been hostile to the order,” Sessions said Tuesday night on the “Mark Levin Show,” CNN first reported Thursday. “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, the former junior senator representing Alabama, was slammed on Twitter by those who said they were offended by his remarks, including Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz:
Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It’s my home. Have some respect. https://t.co/sW9z3vqBqG
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) April 20, 2017
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