In an effort to plump up the organization's finances, the ASLH Board auctioned off the annual meeting site on E-Bay. Tempe was the highest bidder.
What were the alternatives? The city was nearly outbid by P'yŏngyang, North Korea, leading to fears that President Kim Jong-il might detain American scholars to use as bargaining chips in ongoing negotiations over North Korean nuclear technology.
But the strongest challenge to Tempe came from a group of amateur astronomers from Southern California, bidding on behalf of Pluto. Said their spokesperson: "If the American Society for Legal History went to Pluto, that would really prove that Pluto is a planet!"
This potential should strike fear in the heart of any legal historian. I checked. There is no listing for Pluto in Zagat's.
So when you find yourself next fall boarding a plane for Tempe/Phoenix, rather than a spacecraft, legal historians around the cosmos will be saying: Thank God for Tempe! The second image is of Pluto on June 8 and 10, 2003.