Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday that he's "amazed" a federal judge from "an island in the Pacific," specifically Hawaii, could block President Trump's immigration order.
"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 said on the Mark Levin Show Wednesday night.
Trump has issued two immigration orders that would have banned people from certain Muslim-majority countries from coming to the United States temporarily. However, federal judges have struck down both orders.
Sessions was 12 years old when Hawaii became a U.S. state in 1959.
According to a CNN transcript of the interview, Sessions believed the decisions were made by judges who are more intent on making law than following it.
"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 said.
"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," he said. "They honor it and don't try to remake it as they'd like it to be."
Sessions also seemed to lay the groundwork for a defense for possibly losing an appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court. Judges in the court upheld a lower court ruling blocking Trump's first executive order.
"We've got cases moving in the very, very liberal Ninth Circuit, who, they've been hostile to the order," he said. "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."
Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat, slammed Sessions' dismissal of Hawaii as "an island in the Pacific" by reminding him that he voted for the judge when he was a senator.
"Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It's my home. Have some respect," he said.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, another Democrat, called Sessions' comment "dog whistle politics."
"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," she said.