Monthly Archives: January 2017

Presidential Executive Orders – Can He Do That??

Professor Brendan Beery

Professor Brendan Beery

Blog author, Constitutional Law expert and WMU-Cooley Professor Brendan Beery, clarifies a complicated concept in today’s political arena. Professor Beery, a summa cum laude graduate of the law school, teaches Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure at WMU-Cooley Law School, and is a frequent legal expert in the media.

An Executive Power Primer for the Trump Era

Executive orders are coming fast and furious: people from seven predominantly Muslim nations barred from entering the United States; “sanctuary cities” targeted; federal employees muzzled; deportations accelerated; pipelines approved; reproductive counseling overseas banned. And a single question echoes through the land: can a president do this?

There are dozens of legal considerations that go into answering that question, but let’s start with the fundamentals. The leading Supreme Court case about presidential authority is Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer from 1952. That case arose from President Harry Truman’s attempted seizure of privately owned domestic steel mills to stop the mills from closing down over a labor dispute during the Korean War. Justice Robert Jackson laid out a three-tiered test for determining the constitutionality of an executive order.

Article II of the Constitution makes the president the chief executive of the United States, so the president’s job is to execute the laws. Those laws, in turn, are made by Congress, so the president’s power is tied to Congress. As Jackson put it, when the president is acting in a way that has been explicitly or implicitly authorized by Congress, the president is operating in “zone one” and his power is at its maximum. Conversely, congressional disapproval (i.e. a statute, resolution, or other evidence that Congress does not want the president doing whatever it is that he’s doing) puts the president in “zone three,” where his power is at its minimum.

That leaves what Jackson famously called a “zone of twilight,” or “zone two.” The president acts in zone two when Congress is silent as to whatever matter the president is addressing. When that happens, courts look to history to determine whether such matters have been addressed by the president alone in the past with little or no controversy or pushback.

Critically, courts also look to whether the president is setting domestic policy or addressing external concerns. Remember: the president is supposed to be executing the laws, not making law. And setting domestic policy is the quintessence of the lawmaking function. When it comes to foreign or external affairs, on the other hand, courts have long said that the president is the sole face and voice of the United States. The question whether the president is setting domestic or external policy is especially important when the president is operating in zone two. (Under this approach, Truman’s executive order was deemed unconstitutional because Congress had not authorized it and it involved the seizure of domestic industrial facilities.)

As with so many constitutional questions, resolving whether a president’s executive order is an abuse of the president’s constitutional authority is not as easy as it might seem.  Take, for example, Trump’s recent executive order barring the entry into the United States of people from seven predominantly Muslim nations. The order clearly and expressly discriminates against visa applicants on the basis of their nationality (country of origin). Is Trump operating in zone one, two, or three? As you’ll see, Congress is not silent, so zone two is out.

Congress enacted a law in 1952 that provides as follows:

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. (8 USC 1182.)

Trump’s lawyers will argue that this law puts him in zone one, and they have a point. This law seems to give the president virtually unfettered discretion to exclude whatever class of non-citizens he wants to from the United States.

But in 1965, Congress passed another law designed to address the widespread practice up until then of excluding people from entering the United States on the basis of irrational prejudices against certain ethnic groups – especially Asians. President Lyndon Johnson signed the law, saying it represented the end of shamefully discriminatory decision-making as to immigration. That law provides as follows:

Except as specifically provided in [other sections of the U.S. Code irrelevant here], no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence. (8 USC 1151.)

This law seems to put Trump squarely in zone three; Congress has expressly prohibited that which he has clearly attempted to do (discriminate on the basis of nationality).

See why we need lawyers and judges? One law puts Trump in zone one, and another puts him in zone three. (Since more specific laws typically trump less specific laws and new laws typically trump older laws, he’s more likely in zone three, but not every judge would agree). To complicate matters, immigration arguably is a matter of external and foreign affairs, which usually means the president gets more leeway, so even if Trump is in zone three, he still has one leg to stand on.

And we haven’t even touched on the issues whether the order violates the Establishment Clause by indulging preferences for Christian minorities over Muslim majorities in the affected countries; the Equal Protection Clause by targeting a suspect classification (religious minorities); or the Due Process Clause by diminishing certain liberty interests (especially as to non-citizens who already have visas and “green cards”) without any notice or hearing.

Incidentally, this is why yet another constitutional principle comes into play: the “political question doctrine,” which I discussed in an earlier post about the Emoluments Clause. A federal court could look at all this mess and decide to punt, and it could do so by saying that the whole immigration issue is constitutionally committed to the two political branches: Congress and the president (so let them fight it out). If a court says that, then it will refuse even to entertain any claim as to the constitutionality of the immigration order.

At any rate, now you know the two questions to consider when someone asks, “Can a president do that?” First, has Congress authorized the president to do it? Second, which does it involve – domestic or foreign policy? Here’s a handy way to address the constitutionality of the president’s actions:

  • If Congress authorizes the president’s action and it relates to external affairs, the president is a constitutional Dirty Harry: he can do whatever he wants.
  • If Congress authorizes the president’s action and it relates to domestic affairs, the president is good to go.
  • If Congress is silent and the president’s action relates to foreign affairs, the president is probably good to go.
  • If Congress is silent and the president’s action relates to domestic affairs, the president is on shaky ground; a court will look to how such actions have been handled historically.
  • If Congress appears to stand in opposition to the president and the president’s action relates to foreign affairs, the president is on shaky ground and a court will likely look for other violations (like equal protection or due process), but a court could still defer to the president as to external affairs.
  • If Congress appears to stand in opposition to the president and the president’s action relates to domestic affairs, the president’s action is most likely unconstitutional.

Put on your judge hat and consider these questions again. Do the laws quoted above put Trump in zone one or zone three? And is Trump addressing domestic policy or foreign policy? What is your ruling?

All of this presumes that the order does not violate some other constitutional provision, like the Establishment Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, or the Due Process Clause. Congress may not authorize the president to do something unconstitutional any more than it may do something unconstitutional itself. As of this writing, at least one federal judge has partially halted Trump’s order banning travel from Muslim nations on the basis that it likely violates the equal-protection and due-process principles mentioned above.

There will be many more legal decisions in coming days, weeks, months, and years.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Faculty Scholarship, Latest News and Updates, Uncategorized

Military Feature Zaneta Adams: Disabled Iraqi War veteran gives back to veterans in law career

WMU-Cooley, as a military friendly and designated Yellow Ribbon School, talks to its military students, faculty and graduates about their journey from the military to law school and about their career goals. January 2017’s feature is WMU-Cooley graduate Zaneta Adams, a U.S. Army Retired PFC. She served eight years in the military, including her time with the U.S. Army National Guard, the Army Reserves, and Active Duty. After being severely injured during active duty, she made it her purpose to get a legal degree and serve her fellow brothers and sisters get the veteran benefits they so deserve. 

Military rank and title: U.S. Army Retired PFC

Why did you decide to go to law school: I decided to go to law school because I wanted to right injustices and help veterans fight for their VA benefits. I made the decision to attend WMU-Cooley because of its amazing scholarship programs, the fact that it is a yellow ribbon school (which saved me money), and its ideal location close to my home and work.

20160603_145414

Tell us about your military experience: I went into the Army because I loved the values that the Army had and I thought it would make me a better person.  I also wanted to give back and be of service to my country. I started in the Army when I was a junior in college.  I served eight years between my time with the U.S. Army National Guard, the Army Reserves, and Active Duty.

Career and future goals: I represent and do all my law-related duties at Williams Hughes Law firm in Muskegon, Michigan. My responsibilities include prosecuting and defending criminal cases, handling Family Law cases, processing Department of Veterans Affairs’ claims and appeals for veterans, and interviewing clients. My sincere hope is to educate, assist, and help veterans get their well-deserved benefits. I want to make Michigan the number one state where veterans receive their benefits. In addition, I work as a contractor with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office doing OKAY-2-SAY school and community presentations to help raise awareness of cyber bullying, child pornography, sexting, and cyber safety. My ultimate aspiration is to one day be a Michigan or U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Tell us a little about you: I have been married for 18 years and have six children (two sets of twins). I am a disabled Iraqi War veteran (served in support of the war) who was severely injured after falling 10-11 feet from a deuce and half truck. At the time, I never would have imagined after my injury that I would have been able to successfully complete law school and serve my fellow brothers and sisters in arms in this way. WMU-Cooley people were patient, understanding, and very accommodating to the things I personally needed to succeed. One thing they gave me was the confidence in my own abilities. They encouraged me and let me know that my physical injury was not a barrier to law school given my sharp mind and my commitment and conviction to succeed in law school and in my career.

WMU-Cooley graduate Zaneta Adams with WMU-Cooley Assistant Dean Tracey Brame.

WMU-Cooley graduate Zaneta Adams with WMU-Cooley Assistant Dean Tracey Brame.

1 Comment

Filed under Alumni Stories and News, Military Feature, Uncategorized

Weekend Law Student Reese Kewin: Single mom of six pursues dream of law school at 46

Reese Kewin is not your average law student. In fact, there’s nothing average about her. At 46, and starting law school, Reese knew that a “huge life change was ahead,” not only for her, but for her six children.

“People often ask me, ‘Why law school? Why now?’ I take a deep breath and say, Well, it’s something, quite honestly, I have thought about for a long time, for decades it seems.”

A self proclaimed Michigander, and having gone to high school and college in Michigan, Reese knew all about Cooley. She always kept it in the back of her mind whenever she thought about going to law school. Of course, as often happens, life got in the way, and law school was pushed aside. She got married, moved away, had children, got divorced – then suddenly, many years later, found herself back in Lansing working only blocks away from Cooley. Law school was literally staring her in the face.

“One day I got up and I thought, you know what? Stop just thinking about it!”

So, that day, Reese boldly walked into WMU-Cooley’s Lansing campus and asked the Admission Office for a tour. “All of my questions were answered,” Reese stated in relief. “I just knew, as I walked the halls, that this was the place I needed to be! And as I left Cooley, after touring the whole campus and the library, walking the few blocks back to work, I started to cry. It sounds kind of silly, but after all these years of wanting to do this, I knew that this was where I belonged. That was it, I took the LSAT a few months later.”

The Weekend Program was exactly what she needed to make this dream of law school possible. Reese started her law school journey working full-time while taking two classes, plus Intro to Law. Then, just as she was getting used to being a student again, life handed her another curve ball.

“I had just finished my first term, and as it happens in Telecomm, my industry of choice for 22 years, layoffs occurred,” declared Reese. “I again found myself taking a deep breath, and I thought, even with just a term of law school under my belt, I am going to try to dip my toe into the legal field to see what I can do. I approached the career development folks here at Cooley, and they sat down with me and revamped my entire 22 year Telecomm career into a legal resume for me! I then went to some job fairs and found that the legal field was very welcoming and open.  I even found a job as a student assistant working for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Once again, my choice to go to law school, even as an older student, was just reaffirmed for me!”

As any parent knows, this law school journey was not going to be alone. She needed her children to be on board and to support her decision. So she kept reinforcing it with them.

“When you guys start back to school, mommy is starting back to school,” Reese remembers saying to her children. She made it clear that she was going to need time to study, and that there will be times when you will want to do things, but we aren’t going to be able to do them. She let them know that they all needed to be flexible and will need to come up with some alternatives.

But she really never needed to worry. Her children have supported her wholeheartedly.

“I think, at least I hope, that in some small way they see that, wow, if mom can go and do this, then we can do anything too.”

As the first term ended for Reese, and her grades rolled in, the tears flowed again after seeing how she did. “The kids were like, ‘oh mom, did you not do well?’ and I said, ‘No! I got a four point!”

Her son understood why she was crying and why she was going to law school. “Mom, I know why you’re doing this. Because you want to help people.”

Reese wiped the tears and said, “That’s exactly why I am doing this.”


img_0200

Leave a comment

Filed under The Value of a Legal Education, Uncategorized, Weekend Program

Devolder Law Firm: New Grads Find Success Right Out of the Gate

Less than six months ago, Bryan and Elizabeth Devolder opened their own business, The Devolder Law Firm, in suburban Tampa. In the words of  Elizabeth Devolder, “We are very pleased. It’s been doing even better than we expected. We just had our third profitable week!” 

The fact that Elizabeth and Bryan Devolder have been able to create a successful law business right out of the gate is of no surprise to anyone else, especially WMU-Cooley’s Tampa Bay campus. devolder-door As students, both Bryan and Elizabeth were committed, exceptional law students. As attorneys, they are equally involved and dedicated to their new venture.

What really makes them successful though is that they are truly exceptional human beings – as a couple – and as individuals.

One only need look at Bryan and Elizabeth’s team national finals win in the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Division Client Counseling Competition to see that goals made are goals reached. Even National Jurist Magazine named Elizabeth a law student of the year in 2016. Both Bryan and Elizabeth graduated magna cum laude from law school. And they did it all while balancing work, school, family, and mentoring other law students while students.

Opening their law firm was yet another exercise in balancing what is important to them, including “helping others protect what matters most,” which is their business philosophy and motto.

Their new business has already proven to be, not only profitable, but very interesting and important work.

devolders“This week we had a call from a man and his wife,” shared Elizabeth. “The man had been served papers on the day of our phone call. His ex-wife had filed an ex parte motion, and the judge had already issued an order modifying the divorce judgment, with a hearing set for the next week. We immediately agreed to meet with him that day. When the gentleman arrived for his initial consultation, we were surprised to find out that the papers were from a court were from another state. This was just one of the many complicated pieces of the puzzle for this client.”

They have been able to serve and help many clients since they opened. So many that it looked like they might need to expand.

devolderlaw005_web“We have been so busy in our business that we have already hired another attorney,WMU-Cooley graduate Sarah Harris, to manage the Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning clients who need our help,” shared Bryan. “The business is growing, now with the help of three WMU-Cooley graduates, and we are proud of our alma mater. That’s just another reason why Cooley is an awesome law school choice.”

“One of the great things about Cooley is our nationwide network of graduates, ” added Elizabeth. “I’ve been able to do a simple Google search to find any number of listings that have included our graduates in almost any area of law or legal expertise. Even nice is that the Avvo listing of the graduates I have found have outstanding reviews. The last search I did was a Cooley graduate with an excellent score along with experience commensurate with, or exceeding, the qualifications of opposing counsel. And when I did contact his office, he returned my call in three minutes and let me know he appreciated the call from a fellow graduate. He was a joy to talk to, and very helpful. He even knew the opposing counsel and her work. He immediately understood the client’s situation and got us a letter we could forward to the client within an hour. He called our client back before the end of the day, despite the fact that he had a family obligation that evening!”

Both Bryan and Elizabeth also have benefited from the knowledge shared by other graduates.

“The graduates we have been in contact with have been more than open to discussing strategy with us and going the extra mile,” said Elizabeth. “And we are happy to also share our knowledge about Florida law. We enjoy working with them and they ‘enjoy working with young Cooley grads’ as one fellow grad said to me. Everybody wins!

devolder-lake

Leave a comment

Filed under Alumni Stories and News, The Value of a Legal Education, Uncategorized

WMU-Cooley Graduation Keynote Larry Nolan: The Wonderful Beauty of the Law is Change

The Tampa Bay campus of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School honored 43 graduates during a commencement ceremony held at University of South Florida’s Marshall Center on January 8, 2017.  Students received their diplomas during the ceremony for earning their juris doctor degrees. WMU-Cooley 1976 graduate, Board Chair, and State Bar of Michigan President Lawrence P. Nolan was the keynote speaker. Below is his speech and advice to the newly minted attorneys.

Four months ago, as President Don LeDuc mentioned, I was sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, Justice Robert Young. The Chief Justice prefaced his remarks prior to swearing me in by stating that I would be the last State Bar President that he would be swearing in. He didn’t elaborate.

The official news hasn’t hit the streets yet, but I suspect that you will be reading very shortly that a new justice will be elected as Chief Justice of the Court. It signifies to me that every journey started eventually comes to an end. We are constantly reminded that nothing lasts forever. It seems like my journey as a lawyer is always just a beginning, as an old chapter is laid to rest. I recall sitting where you are sitting here today.

I found the joy in graduating from law school in the first class at Cooley in Lansing, Michigan, back in January of 1976. But the joy was not in just getting law school over with, but rather in reaching my goal to become an attorney. Becoming an attorney was a goal that I had set early in my childhood, maybe not unlike many of you. Congratulations! You have now succeeded in so many ways to reach your goal. You have sacrificed a lot to get here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Remember, however, it’s not about just reaching a goal. The journey continues. You will continue to be challenged. The bar examination is next. Winning your first trial may be just around the corner. Writing your first brief, your first appeal, your first complaint, are all first encounters along the journey. The joy of being a lawyer is that the journey really never ends. It just continues to change along the way.

The only one thing constant in being a lawyer I can tell you is change. Adaptability is the key to survival. Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” The wonderful beauty of the law is change. You will always be challenged to think, and to use the foundational building blocks that you leave law school with to be thoroughly analytical.

As you already heard, I was admitted to the first class of Cooley Law School back in January of 1973. It was a night class. Everyone had eight to five jobs during the day. I had the good fortune of getting a job as a law clerk working for the only minority law firm in Lansing. A year or so later, I was able to get a job as a security officer in the Michigan Court of Appeals. I never lost sight of the big prize. I was focused. I was determined and I was happy. I felt like I had never learned so much, especially after my first semester. Then again, after my second semester and then I realized that going to law school and being a lawyer was a continuum of learning. That, my graduates, is the journey.

After graduating in January 1976, I went into practice on my own immediately. Much has changed from that date, now more than 41 years ago. I was appointed to the Thomas M. Cooley Board of Directors in 1984. I have served continuously for the past 33 years. I was elected Vice Chair and then Chair of the Board approximately six years ago. I always considered it a privilege and a gift to serve. I am, and have always been, a big proponent of access to legal education. Cooley’s admission policy allows that mission to exist and be flexible enough to meet the individual student needs.

I got involved in my local Bar Association politics and then eventually in State Bar Association politics. I felt like I had a duty to let people know that Cooley Law School produced lawyers with a legal education second to none. I was on a mission. Nobody was going to talk about Cooley Law School not being as good as the other law schools in the state or the country.

But enough about me. This is not about me. This is not my day. My day in the lights was four months ago. It’s now time for me to carry out the most sacred goals of this great profession at, not only the state, but also at the national stage. Today is your day. No one else’s. Today is special, for you have reached a goal in your journey of becoming a lawyer. In just a few moments you will receive a paper called a degree. President LeDuc and I have signed that piece of paper certifying to the world that you have become an attorney. Enjoy it. Bask in the bright lights. Go out for dinner with family and friends, for tomorrow comes only too quickly.

Tomorrow it is time for you to go to work. It’s time on the continuum of becoming a lawyer to your journey of studying for the Bar exam. You cannot over-study for the Bar. There is no such thing. And you cannot begin to continue this journey too soon. Someone once said “The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.” Your future is tomorrow. You owe it to yourself and everyone, including me, President Don LeDuc, and this distinguished faculty, to pass the Bar exam on your first attempt.

My father was one of 13 children growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the early 1900s. They had no I-Pads. They had no cell phones, knew nothing about blogging, tweeting, Facebook, YouTube, match.com, or instant messaging. He immigrated to Quebec at 14, then to Montreal, then Windsor, and eventually the United States. Nothing was easy for him or my mom. He was not formally educated with degrees, diplomas, and the like.

He did have, however, several sayings that stuck with me through my life. One of my favorites was “Keep your nose to the grindstone” and “Don’t get mixed up with no rubby dubs!”

For years, my siblings and I debated the true definition of a “rubby dub,” only to ultimately conclude that it meant someone who couldn’t comprehend or appreciate what you were doing. In essence, work hard to attain your goal, and don’t get sidetracked. Another one of my favorite sayings is, when he would tell me that, “When the circus comes to town, don’t let the man with the balloons go by.” Think of that. So when you have struggled and sacrificed, and have reached your goal, take advantage of the preparation and excitement of being at the circus because one the balloon man goes by, the next time that you see him again is when he is all out of balloons. Seize the opportunity. It is here. It is now.

My dad never graduated from high school, but he always was prepared for the time that opportunity presented itself. Nothing, and I mean nothing – not talent, not intelligence, not high LSAT scores or GPA, not money or influence, will ever take a higher place in your life than preparation. Preparation, yes preparation, will allow you to pass the Bar exam. There is no substitute. It will serve you well through life to be better prepared in knowing the facts, in knowing the law, and in knowing and understanding people.

Secondly, “When you get there, remember where you came from.” Third, a Winston Churchill quote that’s one of my favorites, “Never, never, never give up!” Giving up is not an option for you. I said, giving up is not an option for you. You have come too far. You have sacrificed too much. You leave here with a special degree. Make those who supported you all these years proud.

More importantly, make yourself proud of who you are now, what you have become, and know that you are in a special place. Congratulations, and good luck. You are the future of this great profession. I’m very proud of all of you. Good bye. Do good and great things, and accomplishments will be your personal and professional reward.

God speed, and may the words of an old Irish blessing be always with you.

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warmly upon your face.

And the rains fall softly upon your fields,

And until we meeting again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

1 Comment

Filed under Achievements, Alumni Stories and News, The Value of a Legal Education, Uncategorized

Is the President immune from conflicts of interest? Con Law Prof explains what the Constitution says

There’s been much national debate and discussion over whether or not the President of the United States is, or is not, immune from conflicts of interest. WZZM-TV recently interviewed Constitutional expert and WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Devin Schindler about what the Constitution says and to explain and interpret the Constitution in terms of conflicts of interest. Watch the interview here.

devin

schlinder_devinProfessor Devin Schindler is a frequent commentator on numerous Constitutional and healthcare issues, having been interviewed over 200 times by radio, television, print and internet media sources.  His comments have appeared in Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and numerous local media outlets.  For 15 years, Professor Schindler hosted his own radio program, “The Constitution among Friends” on WGVU public radio. He is a frequent author and has made hundreds of speeches on constitutional law issues and health care compliance. He most recently published articles in the Whittier Law Review, Case Western Reserve’s Health Matrix: Journal of Health-Medicine, and in Quinnipac Universities’ Health Law Journal.

Leave a comment

Filed under Faculty Scholarship, Latest News and Updates, Uncategorized

Finding Oneself on the Other Side of the World

The Northland region of New Zealand is full of legends and stories significant to Kiwi culture. Professor Kimberly O’Leary got to recently travel in the Northland region. She embraced the land – rich with beauty and meaning. Despite the possible difficulty to traverse the mountainous, hilly New Zealand terrain, she and her husband forged ahead to conquer Mount Manaia, located in the Whangerai Heads, like so many other travelers do each year.

20161218_131927

The hike, consisting of over 1000 stairs, makes a short but steep trail through New Zealand bush, ferns, mangrove trees, and blooming flowers. The mountain is the remnants of a volcano that erupted 20 million years ago. At it’s top are five vertical stones that can be seen for miles around. Legend says that Chief Manaia, the Chief’s children, a rival Chief, and the rival Chief’s wife all turned to stone by the God of Thunder.

20161218_114309

The hard climb was well worth the hardship and time.  Professor O’Leary and her husband were rewarded at the top with stunning view of the bays and the surrounding area. Travelers also enjoy the walk through the tropical bush,  replete with birdsong and the magnificent blooms of the Pahutakawa trees, often called by locals as the New Zealand Christmas tree due to its bedazzling red foliage during the holiday season.

20161220_123301_hdr

The nearby Bay of Islands is considered the birthplace of New Zealand; home to Maori origin legends and the first Maori encounters with western sailors. Professor O’Leary ventured out by boat, traveling past the black rocks, nesting sea birds, beautiful islands, several pods of dolphins, and the famous Motu Kokako, also known as the “Hole in the Rock.” Motu Kokako represents strength through adversity after all it had endured to withstand the sea. The Urupukapuka Island water is so clear and translucent that you can see all the way to the bottom. All are treated to another stunning view of the bay, blooming pahutakawa, and jacaranda trees after a climb to the top.

20161220_110741_burst01

The trip to Cape Reinga had a breathtaking view of 90 mile beach. The Cape is at the upper most tip of New Zealand, and the place where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. The Maori believe this spot is the place where souls leap into the afterlife. Along the Tasman Sea coast, unspoiled beach extends for dozens of miles. It is said that the beach is 90 nautical miles from the Cape to Dargaville, hence the name “90-mile beach.” You get to ride a special “dune bus” about 40 miles on the sand of this beach.

20161221_115937

Also in the region is the largest known living kauri tree. Kauri trees existed along with dinosaurs, formerly growing all over the world. The only living kauri trees are now in New Zealand, with sub-species growing in Australia. These trees are known for growing very large – second only to giant redwoods. They were harvested aggressively in the 19th century, and are now protected. The largest living tree is called Tane Mahuta, which is a Maori name meaning “Lord of the Forest.”

20161222_130920_burst01

Tane Mahuta is estimated to be between 1500 and 2000 years old. Ancient fossilized remains of these trees produces amber, and speculators came from all over the world in the 19th century to mine for amber. Tane Mahuta grows in the Waipoua forest – a protected forest of native trees and plants and a special place.

Finding herself in the midst of ferns, birds, mountain tracks, dolphins, volcanic formations, the meeting of oceans, unspoiled beach and towering ancient trees, Professor Kimberly O’Leary found her own center, clear on the other side of the world.20161218_112110

Leave a comment

Filed under Faculty Scholarship, Foreign Study, Uncategorized