August 19, 2008
The AALS Boycott
Posted by Gordon Smith

Paul has the roundup on TaxProf Blog. I didn't participate in the initial wave of blog commentary on the proposed boycott in San Diego, and I will refrain from any substantive comments about the issue in this post. But I wanted to note something from the AALS email that I received yesterday:

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.... 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.

Does anyone notice anything strange here? Instead of holding the event at the Manchester Grand Hyatt because the owner of the hotel contributed to a ballot initiative to ban gay marriage in California, the AALS moved the main events to a Marriott Hotel.

In case you are having trouble keeping up, I will type this slowly: the CEO of Marriott International is Bill Marriott, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (for those who are new here, I am also a Mormon), which issued this statement on the California ballot initiative.

Note that neither Bill Marriott nor members of his family own a majority of the stock of Marriott International, but all of a sudden, the questions Larry Ribstein asked a couple of weeks back seem rather prescient:

What if Mr. Manchester were only a majority shareholder? A minority shareholder? Vice president?  CFO?  Since the protest here isn’t over the hotel’s policies, control would seem to be irrelevant. What if he had only invested a lot of his money in the holding company of the hotel? The franchisor?

I couldn't help but notice that one of the groups calling for the boycott was the AALS Section on Legal Writing Research and Reasoning. They seem strangely light on reasoning over there.

UPDATE: Haha ... Dan Filler:

There is a bit of an irony here, as all the social lefties flock to a hotel chain started and run by a member of the not-so-liberal Church of Latter Day Saints.  Then again, the Marriott is a major pornographer, at least according to one conservative Christian activist group.  Damn it's hard to signal clearly!

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