November was a rollercoaster month at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). First, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear NASA's appeal of a lower court ruling subjecting the academy and its committees to the Federal Advisory Committees Act (FACA) of 1972. Animal rights groups argued that under FACA there should have been more public representation on a committee set up to revise the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (R. Finn, The Scientist, July 22, 1996, page 1), and that the committee's deliberations should have been open. But Congress immediately took steps to counter NASA's judicial defeat. By mid-month both the House and the Senate had passed identical amendments to FACA requiring NAS committee meetings to be open to the public only when the committee is gathering data or hearing testimony. Meetings in which committees deliberate their recommendations may continue to...

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