Fact Sheet

& Staff







Chairman's Note:

Hon. Edith Jones has written 225 pages in dissenting opinions to express her disagreement with many of the proposals adopted by the Commission. Whether or not joined by other Commissioners, her dissenting opinions--read with the majority views in the first four chapters of the report--will help Congress, the bankruptcy community and the public understand the complexity and the importance of the issues addressed by the Commission and the diversity of perspective about those issues.

The process of preparing a report of more than a thousand pages has been, for the Commission's professional staff, challenging and exhausting. The analytical narrative in the report discusses the 172 proposals adopted by the Commission in a series of votes, decided by at least a majority, over the last 16 months. The staff has been writing and circulating the "final" report for at least that long, in a sense, because the analysis is based largely on the research memoranda prepared by the staff and circulated in advance of every meeting on each issue to each of the Commissioners. It also is based on the memoranda prepared for other proposals, more than 100 in all, that the Commission did not adopt. This process has been, as it should be, a dynamic process. The Commissioners and the judges, lawyers, academics and others following the Commission's work repeatedly offered suggestions and comments that were incorporated into the staff's continuous research and drafting.

On any given issue, the analysis in the report embodies the point of view of at least five Commissioners, and the report notes the specific votes on important issues where the Commission divided. There no doubt are sentences or paragraphs in the report that one majority Commissioner might have written differently, but there cannot be five (let alone nine) authors and editors for each line in the report. In the subject areas where the Commission's vote was divided, the report does not pretend to reflect every Commissioner's view, but it does attempt faithfully to reflect the majority Commissioner's view and to discuss competing considerations. The dissent no doubt faithfully reflects the view that did not prevail and, together, the majority and dissenting views provide Congress with a full and accurate picture of the Commission's discussions.

The majority and dissenting positions and views have long been apparent, established formally with the Commission's public votes and established informally in the free and open discussions at the Commission's meetings. Any Commissioner not in the majority on a given issue was able from the moment of any vote to begin fashioning a dissent or to try to persuade others to change their position. Throughout the last two months, the report sections have been drafted and redrafted by the staff -- developed, expanded, and improved as the staff worked to give Congress the fullest, most complete report that it could. All the work was done with the direct involvement of the Commissioners and those interested in the Commission's work.

The procedural dissent that concludes Chapter 5 provides an opportunity to close the report appropriately--with a final acknowledgment of the integrity, scholarship, dedication, and hard work that the Commission staff demonstrated every day. The staff's ability and enthusiasm under trying circumstances have been remarkable. Their commitment to improving the American bankruptcy system, by giving more than a year of their professional lives to the Commission and helping fashion its recommendations, has been inspirational.

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