Monday, April 27, 2009

Our Week In The Capital

This will, without a doubt, be the longest blog post I have ever put up and so I certainly don't expect anyone to really read it all. Mostly, this is for us. It was an unforgettable trip and so I took several pictures of every step so as to not forget. My dad said this would be the same as a football player making it to about 8 Super Bowls. It was a huge deal for Dave and I just didn't want to forget anything.

I have everything in chronological order so here goes!

Our hotel was about 2 blocks from the Capital and the Courthouse so as soon as we got there, we took a walk down.
Here is Dave and I and my mom and dad standing in front of The Capital.
The Courthouse is across the street from The Capital. Here is Dave and My dad in front of it.
Dave and I in front of the front doors to the Courthouse.
I took his from the steps of the Courthouse: Dave, Dad and Mom.

This was also taken from up on the steps of the Courthouse. It was a very impressive building. Everything was marble--including this whole front courtyard area.After we went and saw those buildings, we went and got some dinner. FYI: If any of you are ever out there and in the mood for some good Mexican, we found the spot! It was a little "hole in the wall" place just down the street called The Burrito Brothers and it was amazing! I'm still having dreams of their quacamole!

After dinner, Dave went back to the hotel and my parents and I went to do some sightseeing. Here are my parents in front of the Washington Monument.

It was raining and the clouds were pretty low. This is a picture of the monument with the rain and clouds and you can see how you couldn't see the top of it.
Me and the Washington Monument (notice how you can't see the top)
I just liked this picture. I stood at the base of it and was looking straight up. I just liked the way the top got lost in the clouds. I actually got a little dizzy looking straight up.

Next, we walked down to the WWII monument. It was easily one of the most beautiful. This and the Lincoln were my favorite. There was definitely a sense of reverence. I really enjoyed seeing all these things at night, not only because of how beautiful they looked all lit up, but because there weren't a lot of people and so there was such a peaceful feeling.

There are pillars that go all the way around the fountain and each has a different state.

On each end, there are big archways that you walk through. One is dedicated to the Atlantic, and this one is dedicated to the Pacific.
There were really neat quotes that were engraved all around.
I wish I could have got the quote that was engraved by this, but I didn't and I can't remember exactly what it said, but each of the gold stars help to represent the loss that was suffered during the war.
Next, was the Lincoln Memorial. It was beautiful.
Above his head is engraved something to the effect, "In this temple, as in the hearts of the people of the country he saved, is enshrined the memory of Abraham Lincoln."
Being in there really gave me a sense of being in a temple. You couldn't be there and not feel the importance of such a person. You could just feel his significance and couldn't question the fact that he was led by God to get this country through such a difficult time. It was very humbling and I'm so grateful for men like him who have been raised up to guide this country.

Next, was the Vietnam Memorial. This book has the names of everyone who died in the war. Again, it was humbling. We were able to find the name of someone my mom knew from home.
People will come and leave things next to the monument for their loved ones. Some of these items are later put on display in the American History Museum.
The Wall:

Passing the Washington Monument on our way back to the hotel. I really wish these pictures could do justice to them!
Just a dumb picture I took... This is how wet the bottom of my pants got during our walk. :)

The hearing!!!

There were so many people waiting to go in to hear the argument. I can't tell you how far the line wrapped because I couldn't see the end. The Court Marshall told everyone that if they were in line by 7, they should be able to get in. Not so. My parents got in line shortly after 5:30 and they were unable to get inside. Dave's parents and sisters came down to see it too, but also couldn't get inside. After they seated those who they could fit (only about 50; FYI: those who were in the front was Matt's family and they were there at 4 am), they had another line where they allowed people to go in and watch for 3 minutes. Our parents/families were able to go in for that much of it, but from what I understand really couldn't see anything. They were hidden pretty well behind curtains. I didn't even see them coming in because they were so obstructed.

Here I am inside the courthouse while we waited to be seated.
Matt's Mom, Kim (Matt's Wife), me, Kirk (a partner at the firm), Jared (an attorney from the firm), Scott (another attorney from the firm).
Being inside for it was really an amazing experience. The justices were clearly concerned with the situation and wanting to make sure the right choice is made. They (the majority, that is) clearly don't want to limit schools when it comes to the safety of the students. If you read the transcripts, you can clearly get that impression. It is my personal opinion that the other side felt the same which is why they keep trying for the "emotional" factor in the press. One thing that I have really come to believe through this is just how biased journalism really is. Of all the newspaper articles and news stories and commentaries, only a small handful of them tried to explain the schools side, and even those didn't give all the background details that led up to the search. They keep reporting that the girl was an innocent victim; an honor student with a clean disciplinary record. On the surface, that was true, but there was so much more. I just decided to give a little bit more that the media has "conveniently" forgot--or more likely, never bothered to find out. The previous school year, just months before the incident, a student from the middle school had taken prescription strength pain killers and had to air-evaced to ICU and nearly died. 1 week before this search, another middle school student had taken perscription strength pain killers and became violently ill. His mother brought him to the school on this morning and told the vice principal. This student (Jordan, I believe) told the principal that "Marissa" had given him the pills. When Marissa was brought to the office, they found razor blades on her. They also found a planner that she said belonged to Savanna, which Savanna later acknowledged, though both girls claimed they didn't know what was inside of it. What was inside of it was a knife, cigarettes, a lighter, a permanent marker and a small mirror (which, when combined with the razor blades they also found sounds quite ominous). They also found a handful of pills on Marissa which she claimed she got from Savanna. She also admitted that there more pills that Savanna had and that a large group of kids were planning to all take them at lunchtime together. The nurse was given the pills and then called poison control to determine what they were. She was told they were prescription strength pain killers. At this point, Savanna was brought to the office and her backpack was searched but nothing was found. She wasn't wearing any clothes with pockets and at this school, they had no lockers, so she was sent to the nurses office. There were 2 female staff members there--the nurse and a female secretary. They told her to take off her clothes to her underwear and then to move her bra and underwear back and forth to ensure there was nothing hidden inside them.

This is the basis of the case. Her mother sued the principal. One argument that the ACLU attorney made was that no one searched her locker before she was given the more invasive search. This just goes to show how well he knew the facts. There were no lockers. I also read in an article that Savanna claims she doesn't know why Marissa pointed the finger at her because they weren't really friends anymore--she was too much of nerd at this point. However, the boy who originally came to the administrator said that he had seen the 2 girls together the previous day sniffing the black permanent marker in the school courtyard(th marker that was found in the planner--this isn't a matter of record because he didn't identify this until after she had been sent to the nurses office for the search), so that really discredits that argument in my mind.

I have been asked what Dave feels about this--if he is just doing his job or if he believes it. While I can't speak for him, I will tell you what I think. Knowing the circumstances surrounding this search, I would have been outraged if I found out the school knew all of the above facts and failed to do everything they could to discover the drugs and make sure no group of kids took these pills. Anyone of them could have ended up sick, or worse and then the anger and outrage would have been worse. Can you imagine being a parent and having your child end up sick because of this and then find out the school knew that what was going on but didn't do everything they could to prevent it? That would have been irresponsible, and this "common sense" that apparently has been left behind (according to so many uninformed people who leave comments about this case) would truly be called into question. The ACLU attorney said in a news clip that search was so wrong that, "it should have been self-evident." I keep wanting to scream at anyone who hears only the 1 side and agrees with this that if it is so "self-evident" it never would have been heard by the Supreme Court!

Anyway... there is my editorial and from now on, whenever I want to know the truth about an issue, I will have to find out for myself. For the most part, I don't believe "investigative journalism" exists. It is all "editorial journalism."

At any rate... we will find out which way the justices decide probably towards the end of June.

Here are Dave and Matt walking out after it was over.

These are all the attorney's from the firm that were there.
(only Matt and Dave were working on this and whose names appear on the brief and sat at Counsel's table. The others were just there because it was such a big deal, they didn't want to miss it. 2 of them were admitted to the Supreme Court that morning. You don't have to be present for that--Dave wasn't when he was admitted--but it was just great timing for them!)
Jared, Dave, Matt, Kirk, Scott.
Our families:
My mom (Laurel) and dad (Mark), me, Dave, Dave's Mom (Shirley), and dad (Allan), and Dave's sisters, Stephanie, and Kapua.

Dave and I on the courthouse steps.
(Note the cool quill I'm holding.
That was on the "counsel's table" for all the attorney's).
Dave and I again... notice the line of people still trying to get into the court? This was still from the line of people who were able to go in for 3 minutes who were trying to hear our argument. It was, of course, over by now, but this just goes to show you how long that line was!
Media circus: This is the crowd of media interviewing the ACLU attorney.
Matt's turn. He handled the media really well. I would have recorded it, but I was in the back (as you can see), so I couldn't hear well enough to take a video of it). An NPR lady was directly to his right (you can see her purple arm) and the guy from NBC was to his right.

My mom got this picture. It was just cool to see all those camera's all there recording it-- of course, there are still more you can't see.

When my kids were watching the news clips, they were asking where their daddy was and why he wasn't on tv. He was over here. He had no desire to be in the middle of it and was quite happy to let Matt take all the glory there. :)
With clients:
The men of the hour again.

After things had calmed down, and after lunch, we walked back to the capital. There was the statue of King Kamehameha so we took a picture of Dave with his ancestor. :)

Me and Dad outside the American History Museum.

Mom and me and the Washington Monument... again...
The Jefferson Memorial
This is the WWII Memorial and then the Lincoln behind it. This is the view from the Washington Monument.
The White House:
Me and The White House

The next day, we went to lunch with the clients right down the street from the White House, so we got to take a picture from the front.

I thought this was interesting: This lady has been protesting nuclear weapons since 1981!!! There is now a law that you can't protest, or so we thought. Someone went and asked the security guard and he said people can protest but only for the day and they have to carry all their stuff in (there was another demonstration right next to this one). However, this lady has been grandfathered in. She started this protest with her husband so long ago, so she is able to stay. Whenever the street is secured, she has to leave, but she gets to come back. However, if she ever leaves it on her own, they get to take her down. When her husband with her, they would take turns going to the bathroom and getting food. He has since passed away, so I don't know how she is taking care of those basic needs now, or even how she has money to get the necessities, assuming she has people to go and get the things for her. Anyway... here she is.

Mom and The Capital from The Mall.On the night of the case, we went out to dinner down at Union Station. here we all are: (left side first, clockwise) Dave, Me, Mom, Dad, Sara (hidden-Matt's daughter) (rt side of the table) Larry (Matt's son in law), Julie (Matt's sis), Beau, Baily (Matt's kids), Kim, Matt

Dave and I in Union Station
Outside Union Station
Dad, Mom, Baily, Kim, Matt, Beau, Dave, Me
The next day, Dave and I were walking back to Union Station for dinner, and I thought this was such a cool picture with the sunset.
Dave in front of Union Station
Just some of the cool architecture inside Union Station.

Thursday morning, Dave's parents picked us up and we went and spent a our last couple days with them. We got to spend some time with our cute little niece and nephews that we don't get to see very often... or ever!

This is Brennan. We got to go to the park with him. Dave was determined to make sure they left as best friends. We have long been warned that he doesn't really warm to outsiders... especially men. While I don't know if I can say there are BF's now, at least he wasn't afraid of us anymore!
Later that evening, all the East Coast family came over for dinner. It was lots of fun to see them all. I am really sad we can't do it more often. Dave has such a fun family.

Here are the rest of the kids.
Julia, Alex (or "Jr." as Dave likes to call him... his middle name is Kapena, which is Dave's Hawaiian names. He is really proud of this. He was especially happy when he called out "Jr!" and Alex responded.) and Gable.
Friday, we went down to Baltimore and walked around the inner harbor and went to the National Aquarium (which can be seen in the background... it is the building that looks like a tipping cube... with one outside wall red)
Grandma Shirley, Brennan, Dave, Stephanie, "Jr." and Kapua
The boys seemed to enjoy the aquarium. Here is Brennan and Alex with Kapua looking on.
The first thing we saw when we walked in was a big sting ray tank then you wind your way up and around to look at all the exhibits, but you can always look back down to the sting ray tank. This was Brennan's favorite part. No matter what else we saw, he always wanted to turn around look back at those.
Grandma Shirley, Steph, Brennn
Alex and Kapua outside in the "rain forest" display.
Steph, Dave, Brennan, Kapua, Alex, Grandma Shirley
In front of the aquarium, these guys were there building this huge sand castle ship. I think they were from Carnival Cruise Ships. Still... I thought it was cool.
We decided to stop for Ice Cream on the way home. Well.. they did. We walked past a Cheesecake Factory on our way back to the car and so I decided I just had to have a peice of White Chocolate Rasberry Truffle Cheesecake. Yum. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
Grandma Shirley, Brennan, Stephanie

Well, if you have stuck with me this whole time, congratluations! It has taken me the better part of the afternoon and evening to get to this point. I now have my couch full of laundry, and my kids 1/2 hour past bedtime, but documenting this trip was worth it. It was such an amazing experience. I'm so proud of Dave for all his hard work. He really does so much for us. While he didn't do the actual arguing, or was quoted by any of the media, he really was instrumental to getting them their. As we were walking into the court house, Matt's wife turned to me and said, "Dave got us here."

One last little thing: For those of you who think that Dave is always so serious!