Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Real Reason Tempe to Host Legal Historians: They Bought it on E-Bay

The American Society for Legal History had led the Legal History Blog and others to believe that it was the beautiful Southwestern vistas, fine dining, reasonable hotel rates and easy airport connections that led the association to choose Tempe, Arizona, as the site for its 2007 annual meeting. But no. The Legal History Blog has just learned the real reason.

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.

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