WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Hawaii's two Senators have struck back at Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the nation's top law enforcement officer criticized a federal judge from their state who blocked President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration.
Sessions told conservative radio host Mark Levin on Wednesday he was 'amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific' could stop Trump from executing an order he believes is clearly within the president's statutory and Constitutional power.
In an op-ed piece for CNN, Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, called Sessions' comments about U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson 'ignorant' as well as 'insulting and prejudiced.'
'I would never criticize a judge just because he or she presides in another state, including Alabama. Sessions' Alabamans would be outraged if I did,' Hirono wrote. 'Yet that's exactly what the attorney general did.'
'These kinds of comments reflect badly on him and the Trump administration,' she added. 'Does he think federal judges in Hawaii don't know the law, don't have the training (by the way, Watson graduated from Harvard Law School), or don't understand their constitutional responsibilities?'
Responding to the uproar, a statement from Justice Department spokesperson Ian D. Prior noted that Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific and where Sessions' 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,' Prior said.
However, Hirono argued that Sessions' comments reflect the Trump administration's discriminatory attitude and said she would expect the Attorney General to understand the independent role of the judiciary.
Senator Brian Schatz also lashed out at Sessions in a post on Twitter, saying, 'Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It's my home. Have some respect.'
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