Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Law Profs Threaten Boycott of AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego Due to Hotel Owner's Views on Same-Sex Marriage

In today's National Law Journal:  Boycott Threatened Over Meeting Site of Association of American Law Schools, by Leigh Jones:

Organizations representing thousands of legal educators say they will boycott the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting in January if it is held at a San Diego hotel owned by a foe of same-sex marriage.

The four groups made up of law professors and legal writing professionals have sent letters to the AALS, calling for it to move the site chosen for the conference in January.

The groups object to holding the annual meeting at the San Diego Manchester Grand Hyatt, a hotel whose owner, Douglas Manchester, has donated $125,000 to an initiative to outlaw same-sex marriage in California. The groups say that to attend the five-day event hosted primarily at the Manchester Grand Hyatt would conflict with their policies of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation.

The groups are the Society of American Law Teachers; the Legal Writing Institute; the AALS Section on Legal Writing Research and Reasoning; and the AALS Section on Teaching Methods. The groups represent as many as 2,500 members.

See Letter to AALS from Legal Writing Institute.  For press and blogosphere commentary, see:

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» Boycott of AALS Meeting in San Diego: from The Volokh Conspiracy
Some law professor organizations have announced they will boycott the annual law professors conference to be held in San Diego in January because the owner of one of the hotels, Doug Manchester, donated $125,000 to to support an ... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 5, 2008 1:06:05 PM


Manchester is ACTIVELY supporting rescinding the equal rights of a minority group. This is discrimination plain and simple. Cudos to the AALS for recognizing discrimination and taking a stand against it.

Posted by: Polly | Aug 7, 2008 8:51:29 AM

Hey, does anyone know who the owner of Caesar's Palace is supporting in the Presidential election? I need to know before I book a room there. Hurry up!

Posted by: DJ Sly Bri | Aug 5, 2008 5:06:37 PM

The AALS can boycott whomever it wants. But state legislators might start providing that no funds can be spent for faculty to attend AALS conferences, too. If THAT happens, though, expect AALS to scream that its free-speech rights are being violated.

Posted by: Cynic | Aug 5, 2008 4:57:01 PM

Sounds like Mr. Manchester has some open dates for an NRA convention, or Southern Baptists, or just about anyone who wants to step up and counteract the idiocy. :-)

Are they lawyers or social activists? Can't be both... I mean, what if a client of theirs is 'guilty of discrimination' that isn't illegal? Would they deliberately lose a case for that person? would ideology trump the law?

Sounds like it would.

Posted by: Dave | Aug 5, 2008 4:52:17 PM

".....because to spend LWI funds on such an event would be a direct violation of LWI=s non-discrimination policy."

Even if one argues that by holding the event at this hotel the group would be guilty of discrimination (which is a stretch), there's absolutely zero chance of it being anything other than an indirect violation - rather than the 'direct' violation they claim - of LWI policy as it is currently worded. You would think a society of legal professionals would understand that.

Posted by: MD | Aug 5, 2008 4:16:39 PM

But, but, but .... what about Douglas Manchester's freedom of speech? Why, are not his rights to his personal views being infringed? And, by lawyers?

Why, I'm shocked, shocked.

Posted by: paul abarge | Aug 5, 2008 4:00:24 PM

Personally, they can do whatever they'd like, its a free country.

However, you might wonder how a professional association brought together to advance the professional and business interests of its members gets caught up in a political cause, and a very unpopular cause at that. Let's be blunt, holding every business and professional tie to a particular political cause is fascist. The West carries freedom within the cats-cradle of competing and cross-cutting allegiances. (What used to be called multiculturalism).

Posted by: pashley | Aug 5, 2008 3:58:00 PM

If these left-wing professors had students who boycotted their classes because of the professors' anti-Christian views, would they respect the students or flunk them? We know how that would come out. Well, let the professors boycott the conference and lose out. Then, let's see how much the law schools appreciate the professors wasting the money and putting a personal agenda ahead of the interests of the universities sending them.

Posted by: Woody | Aug 5, 2008 3:04:10 PM

Sure glad those lawyers are concerned about things vitally important to the nation. Also glad to see that law is usually where my physics flunkouts go... since they need something that never has answers.

Posted by: Da Coyote | Aug 5, 2008 2:23:12 PM

Well so much for that accepting of multicultural diversity on the part of these alledged educators...

Posted by: juandos | Aug 5, 2008 2:11:57 PM

I'm not sure how, exactly, going to a Hyatt owned by someone with a certain political point of view would "conflict with their policies of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation."

I can understand that these groups may not wish to give their business to someone who will use some of the money to support some political cause or candidate they oppose. This is certainly difficult to do in many cases, but it makes sense if there is unusual clarity.

However, if that is what they want to do, they ought to say so. Take responsibility for a political statement they want to make. The claim that there is a conflict with their policies, when there is no indication that the hotel would actually discriminate against homosexuals or anyone else, is disingenuous as I see it.

Posted by: BarryD | Aug 5, 2008 1:56:23 PM

So an issue that was scarcely a blip a mere ten years ago has now risen to such incredible importance that lefties regard a person's opinion on the matter as a litmus test for whether it's morally acceptable to engage in casual, one-time commerce with him. This transient moral framework is why it's impossible to take the left seriously.

It's kind of amazing these ass-hats are law school professors.

Posted by: Rob Sterling | Aug 5, 2008 1:55:40 PM

Actually, that makes no sense. How is this person or his business discriminating? Sounds more like a thought crime than an action an action crime… which probably does not actually violate their group’s rules….

Posted by: Thomass | Aug 5, 2008 1:37:29 PM