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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Hawaii state pols find AG Sessions’ remark not so pacific

Attorney General Jeff Sessions prepares to speak before

Attorney General Jeff Sessions prepares to speak before a meeting of the Attorney General's Organized Crime Council and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Executive Committee in Washington on April 19, 2017. Credit: AP / Alex Brandon

Every president has his favorites and least favorites among the 50 states. Last November, President Donald Trump lost Hawaii — where predecessor Barack Obama was born — to Hillary Clinton by a 2-to-1 margin.

So it may matter little politically that Attorney General Jeff Sessions said what he did in reaction to a federal judge in the 50th state halting the administration’s order banning immigration from seven mostly Muslim nations.

Sessions said on talk radio last week he was “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.”

Naturally some Hawaiians took offense, but Sessions defended his point.

“I wasn’t criticizing the judge or the island,” the former senator from Alabama said in a television interview. “I think it’s a fabulous place and had a granddaughter born there.

“But I got to tell you — it’s a point worth making that a single sitting judge out of 600, 700 district judges can issue an order stopping a presidential executive order that I believe is fully constitutional, designed to protect the United States of America from terrorist attacks.”

Hawaii Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, both Democrats, blasted the remarks. The state’s governor, David Ige, and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell also have criticized Trump’s immigration policies.

Geographically driven or not, there does seem to be a particular willingness by Trump & Co. to scoff at court opinions that frustrate them.

Last week it surfaced that District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who sits in California (where Clinton won 2-1), was assigned the case of a man challenging his deportation to Mexico under the new administration.

Trump last year attacked a ruling by Curiel in a fraud case over the defunct Trump University by saying the judge’s “Mexican heritage” biased him.

In Washington state in February (where, for what it’s worth, Clinton beat Trump 54-38 percent) Judge James Robart blocked the first version of the travel-ban order.

Trump tweeted: “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

It was not.


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