Sessions 'Amazed' Judge On 'An Island In The Pacific' Blocked Trump Travel Ban

Jim LoScalzo

Attorney General Jeff Sessions can’t believe that a federal judge based on “an island in the Pacific”—what the rest of us simply call Hawaii—was able to block President Donald Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from a handful of majority-Muslim countries.

“We are confident that the President will prevail on appeal and particularly in the Supreme Court, if not the Ninth Circuit,” Sessions said in a Wednesday night interview on “The Mark Levin” radio show, first flagged by CNN’s KFILE. “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.”

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson in March blocked a revised version of the travel ban hours before it was set to go into effect, arguing that its primary purpose remained “suspending the entry of Muslims” rather than ensuring national security, as the Trump administration has insisted.

Watson pointed to Trump team staffers’ frequent calls for a “Muslim ban,” made both during the campaign and at the start of his administration, in blocking the order.

Federal officials who are located on the mainland shared Watson’s interpretation. Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland also issued an injunction against the revised travel ban, and the Democratic attorneys general of Washington, New York, Oregon and Massachusetts also sued in an attempt to block the order.

Sessions finds readings of the executive order like Watson’s “weird.”

“I think our President, having seen some of these really weird interpretations of the executive orders that he’s put out, I think he’s more understanding now that we need judges who follow the law, not make law,” he told Levin.

“The judges don’t get to psychoanalyze the President to see if the order he issues is lawful. It’s either lawful or it’s not,” Sessions continued. “I think that it will be real important for America to have judges in the model of Judge [Neil] Gorsuch and [the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia, people who serve under the law, under the Constitution, not above it, and they are faithful to the law. They honor it and don’t try to remake it as they’d like it to be.”

Listen to a clip of the interview below via KFILE:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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