Attorney General Jeff Sessions prompted a firestorm of controversy after making a series of remarks disparaging the state of Hawaii and undermining the legitimacy of the Hawaiian judge who killed President Trump’s discriminatory anti-Muslim travel bans.
During an interview with “The Mark Levin Show,” Sessions demonstrated either an astonishing lack of understanding of the way the American legal system works or directly attacked the legal institutions upon which our nation is grounded when he said:
“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.”
Not only is he echoing President Trump’s un-American and undemocratic attacks on our independent judiciary, he is insinuating that Hawaii isn’t a real American state and should have no bearing on issues concerning the mainland, which is the height of irony considering that there are thousands of native Hawaiians who have spent the past century wishing the colonizing mainland would stop dictating to them.
Hawaii’s Senators were quick to respond in fury:
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
Hey Jeff Sessions, this #IslandinthePacific has been the 50th state for going on 58 years. And we won’t succumb to your dog whistle politics
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) April 20, 2017
It is terrifying to see the head of the Justice Department speak so dismissively of one of the cornerstones of our democracy. The increasingly authoritarian Republican Party claims to love “America,” but are increasingly narrowing what that means. They are incapable of tolerating a ruling that goes against their interests, and would rather tear down the institution than accept the fact that the checks and balances in our government are working to prevent their bigotry from becoming institutionalized.
"Hawaii is not part of real America," said the man from a state that fought a war to leave America https://t.co/cklIOP4Qm3
— Daniel Lin (@danwlin) April 20, 2017
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.