[eDebate] *Legal Topic Good*

Matt Gerber matt_gerber27
Thu Apr 6 15:44:59 CDT 2006

I would rather rather see some discussion about next year's topic/resolution 
than about the other stuff going on. Maybe other people would too? Here are 
general reasons to support a Legal topic for 06-07.

1. If worded properly, better critical ground for the aff. What I mean is, 
maybe it could be worded with a bidirectional mechanism much like the 
1994-1995 NDT Topic: Resolved: That the United States Federal Government 
should substantially change criminal procedure in one or more of the 
following areas: pre-trial detention or sentencing. That way the Aff doesnt 
have to defend heinous things that the USFG/Court does, rather they can 
change/overturn or otherwise run from the legitimacy of the legal system. It 
gives the Aff at least a chance for good offense against Ks of the legal 
system/state, etc. Ban Mandatory Minimums, Strengthen The X-Rule, Change 
Detention procedures (Immigrants, "Terrorists", Refugees), would all be Affs 
in that area. The criminal procedure topic was AWESOME. Ask people who 
debated it.

2. I dont buy the arguments about why a bidirectional topic is bad; they 
could be good: a) increases education-- learn both sides of the topic, get 
to research an aff you actually believe in, research the mechanism (criminal 
procedure in the above example) in-depth, etc. b) you have to be able to "go 
both ways" on most debate positions anyway. No one just goes in with their 
"Hegemony Good" files (well maybe some), but in most cases ya gotta research 
the other side too. c) if worded properly, you could control the scope and 
predictability of the topic by limiting the areas (sentencing or pre-trial 
detention in the above example), d) it could potentially make some of these 
dumb theory debates about the merits of "switch-side" debating go away; in 
fact, that would kinda be built into the topic I guess.

3. I want a legal topic, not a "Courts" topic. There is a difference. The 
example I used above is a LEGAL topic--- its in the realm of legal affairs, 
but does NOT require the Court as an actor. It does NOT require the overturn 
of a Supreme Court case. You could choose the Court as your actor, but not 
required. It is also not a list topic. I think a Courts topic along the 
lines of "Resolved: That the U.S. Supreme Court should overturn one or more 
of the following cases...." would be bad. Real bad. It just seems too small, 
too limiting for the Aff, certainly more of an advantage for negative K 
teams. Potentially just a snoozer. I dont know, I guess I just hate topics 
that spell it all out: No flexibility on the actor or the list.  I am in 
favor of a topic in this area, but lets open it up a bit. I'm not saying we 
should just debate the 94-95 NDT topic again, but I do think the topic 
committee got it right that year.

Just an opening salvo.


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