The AALS Speaks

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This just in from the AALS:

Statement Adopted by AALS Executive Committee
August 15, 2008

The AALS 2009 Annual Meeting will take place January 6-10, 2009, in San Diego, California. Several years ago the Association booked rooms at the San Diego Marriott and the Manchester Grand Hyatt. In the last few weeks there have been suggestions that the Association should boycott the Hyatt because its owner has contributed money to a ballot initiative designed to overturn the California Supreme Court’s May decision in favor of same-sex marriage. In addressing this issue, the Executive Committee has sought to ensure that the Annual Meeting serves the needs of all participants to the maximum extent possible given our contractual obligations to the hotels.

Our contracts with the hotels provide that each hotel reserve a block of guest rooms, and leave to the AALS the choice of where to locate the AALS Registration, Exhibit Hall, Section Programs, Presidential Programs, and House of Representatives meetings. We will honor our contracts with both hotels, and we have exercised our option to hold all AALS events at the Marriott to ensure the maximum participation by our members.

Law schools and other organizations hosting meetings and receptions will be contacted soon by an AALS meetings manager regarding the location of their events. Faculty and staff at law schools will soon receive housing information and you will be able to choose your individual hotel room on a first-come, first-served basis in accordance with the usual housing procedures.

I think the AALS Executive Committee crypto-speak translates as “We’ve moved our events, and law schools and other organizations planning receptions, etc. will be given the option to do so.” I cannot say the AALS’s decision surprises me. Reasonable people (see here and here) disagree about the wisdom of boycotting events at the Hyatt. What does surprise me, though, is that the Executive Committee completely punted on the labor issue.

UPDATE:  As Dan Rodriguez points out in his comment  at Prawfsblawg, the Hyatt and the Marriott are owned by the same person.  Didn’t the AALS cancel a meeting in San Francisco a few years ago because of a labor strike?   What makes this situation different?  

SECOND UPDATE:   Paul Caron at the Tax Prof Blog has more information here about Mr. Manchester’s ownership of the hotels.   This is starting to seem like the old Abbott and Costello routine, “Who’s on First?”  

-Bridget Crawford

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