The Commission never took any vote on whether it would be a good idea to extend the Commission's life. The question put to a vote was whether to include a statement to this effect in an historical document summarizing the activities of the Commission. 3/ The subject of the vote could not have much clearer. 4/ The meeting synopsis states
[A] vote was taken to determine whether this summary report should include a statement that the Commission should continue in its current form. As a business document a simple majority of 50% “yes” votes was required to approve inclusion of this statement. A total of 42% “yes” votes were received, and therefore no statement would be included regarding the continuation of the Commission. 5/The precise question posed and the complete vote on it were as follows: 6/
Document or Vote Question Asked Total Votes # Yes # No # Abstain Does the NCFS Summary Report include a sentence that NCFS continues in its current form? 38 16 15 7
- Seth Augenstein, Final Meeting of National Commission on Forensic Science ‘Reflects Back,’ Apr. 10, 2017, 11:59am, http://www.forensicmag.com/news/2017/04/final-meeting-national-commission-forensic-science-reflects-back. The paragraph stated that
The NCFS produced 45 documents and recommendations in three years of work, which encompassed 600 public comments. But the commission itself had voted against its own renewal at its January meeting, by a 16-15 vote."
- Seth Augenstein, Even Without Forensic Commission, Forensic Science Overhaul Proceeds at OSAC, Apr. 13, 2017, 12:12pm, http://www.forensicmag.com/news/2017/04/even-without-forensic-commission-forensic-science-overhaul-proceeds-osac. The latest paragraph states that
The NCFS, by the end of its last meeting on Tuesday, produced 45 documents and recommendations in three years of work—many of which directed OSAC’s explorations into forensic disciplines. But the commission itself had voted against its own renewal at its January meeting, by a 16-15 vote. Sessions announced that it would not be renewed on Monday.The additions are also inaccurate. Very few of the NCFS Views documents and Recommendations documents seem to have "directed OSAC's explorations."
- Reflecting Back—Looking Toward the Future, Dec. 16, 2016 (draft), https://www.justice.gov/ncfs/page/file/921431/download.
- The discussion as recorded on the meeting webcast includes the following (with intervening speaker statements omitted without ellipses):
HON. PAM KING: This is a business record ... of this particular Commission. ... This is a document that does not take any real position as to whether something should or should not be done. ...I did get some comments from Commissioners before this meetings ... One of the ones that I really would like to get some discussion on is [the] strong feelings among some Commissioners that maybe we do want to make a statement about whether or not this Commission should continue. ...
JULIA LEIGHTON: I would not shy away from a recommendation ... I think to scrap it altogether ... is to give up on the work we’ve done.
GERALD LAPORTE: So I don’t agree — disagree — with anything Julia has said. ... but I don’t know if we really are in a position to make a recommendation ... .
ARTURO CASADEVALL: I want to support what Julia said. Commissions like this develop an institutional memory. ... I strongly think we should make a recommendation that something like this continue.
S. JAMES GATES: [A]bsent a committee like this, I don’t see a consistent driver for making progress. ...
MATTHEW REDLE: Whether it is this form or not, ... there ought to be more work done to continue the progress that we have made ...
JULIA LEIGHTON: [W]e need a national body [with] the gravitas of being a nonpartisan federal advisory commission. ...
HON. JED RAKOFF: ... I do think it is important that we say some something [to] indicate that we believe the Commission should continue. ...[J]udges do pay some attention to what this Commission says and does. So I think it plays a role there that is not played by other very wonderful groups ... and some very wonderful reports. I would very much strongly encourage that we have something in there ...
WILLIAM THOMPSON: This Commission is uniquely well situated to address those [human factors] issues ... so I hope the Commission continues to address those kinds of questions ... .
JULES EPSTEIN: So ... for this concluding portion ... yeah, we should keep going in some shape or form. ... [M]ore needs to be done. More constituencies will look to us than to other segregated constituencies. [T]he federal advisory commission should continue.
WILLIE MAY: Certainly, I think that the Commission’s work is not completed. [I]t would serve the country very well to continue this ... .
- National Commission on Forensic Science Meeting #12, Jan. 9-10, 2017, at 6, https://www.justice.gov/ncfs/page/file/953106/download
- Id. at 10.