Due to the lack of internet access during the trip, I was not able to post Tinian pictures of our exciting day exploring the runaway for the Enola Gay, the historical site of the Taga Latte stones, and the wonderful feast on the beach with the mayor and others from this island.
Day 9 was spent back on Guam. After a brutal 2 am flight (flights from Palau take off at ungodly hours to make connections), I made it to Guam and was reunited with my brilliant young hostess, Karen Quitlong, who had already planned a hiking trip to the Spanish Steps, a famous snorkeling area on the island. While the steps were turned out to be closed that day, the backup plan proved incredible.
My eighth day was spent enjoying the unique islands of Palau. I have heard my whole life how pristine and gorgeous these islands are, but nothing prepared me for encountering the lush jungle, turquoise blue waters, and rock islands. After torrential rains on the first day on Palau, the skies suddenly cleared in the morning and a perfect blue day emerged. With the help of our hosts, Judge Watford, his wife, and I went on a snorkeling trip that offered multiple stops in the rock islands. We then finished the day at a remarkably good Indian restaurant with Chief Justice Arthur Ngiraklsong.
It appears that the problem with the Internet in Palau resulted in the deletion of the original post on the decision in Virginia. I did not want to delete any discussion so I am keeping this post. I am in Guam now with better Internet access. Virginia federal district court Judge Leonie Brinkema granted a preliminary injunction which requires a higher showing for the challengers. In that sense, this is an obvious victory but it could also be an opportunity for the Trump Administration. I believe that the Brinkema decision might be the better option for the Administration to appeal given its focus on religious discrimination and its reliance on campaign statements and the bizarre statements of Rudy Giuliani.
My seventh day was sent on Palau, a true island paradise. The first day was spent in three lectures to the Palau bar with Ninth Circuit Judge Paul Watford. The day was a good time to be indoors. A tropical storm moved in with torrential rain.
If you are looking for a fun romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day, you might want to pass on Pakistan. The High Court in Islamabad has banned all public celebrations of Valentine’s Day despite the growing desire among students to have parties. Students in many countries in the Middle East and Asia have increasingly embraced the holiday to exchange cards, sweets, and have parties.
The sixth day was just about as exciting as it can get. Our hosts in Saipan knew of my love for military history and Chief Justice Alexandro Castro said that he would be happy to take my to Tinian on his fishing boat. With Ninth Circuit Judge Paul Watford and his wife joined us, it became quite an adventure after he hit unpredictably rough seas in the small boat. It only added to the exciting day, however, as we visited one of the truly most unique places on Earth.