[eDebate] *Legal Topic Good*

Sue Peterson bk2nocal
Fri Apr 7 00:02:30 CDT 2006

I take offense that you forgot us at Pepperdine in your exceptions Josh!  Some of us out here on the left coast aren't as left as the rest!  :)

Josh Hoe <jbhdb8 at gmail.com> wrote:
    Rather than continually repost all the same objections from 10 years of the same discussion - I will only say:
  I think aff flex is uber stinky......I have talked to virtually everyone except Mike, Jackie, Matt, and the entire state of California (except for USC) and they all agree 100% with me.  So there!
  (please realize, for the record, that Josh is trying to start this all on a much lighter note then in prior years)

  On 4/7/06, dbteam <dbteam at westga.edu> wrote:   i will use Matt's informative and productive post to echo some of his points
which i feel have a lot of support in the community (based on conversations i 
have frequently among various groups), but which rarely seem to carry any
weight when the actual resolutions get written:

1) The Resolution should not overly constrict aff plan variations by including
specified agents or narrow lists of actions. this is not 1991. the growth of K 
ground and PICs have made debating on the NEG much easier and debating against
the examples of small abusive aff cases that are always listed during the
discussion EVEN EASIER. any casual observation of elims where sides are chosen 
by coin-toss reveals that waaaay too many teams flip NEG for there to be the
slant toward the AFF that is the premise for the resolutions that are so
narrowly drawn. this year's topic didn't didn't specify the agent and didn't 
include a list of plans, and i STILL noticed teams flipping NEG.

while i, like Gerber, think a bidirectional topic would be great, i have no
expectation that we'll get one of those. at this point, a topic that allows 
teams to develop their own plans (rather than have the resolution list what
plans they can run) would be cool.

2) For the love of Ahilan Arulanantham, please let the AFF actually SOLVE a
harm. it makes no sense to pick harm areas and then write the resolution in 
such a way that the aff can only attempt piecemeal reforms that barely
alleviate symptoms and can never address root causes. for example, don't
include the area of legal abuses of drug enforcement if the aff can't legalize 
drug consumption and distribution. a half-way approach = half-assed debates
where the aff can't actually solve the problem, the neg can't CP w/
legalization b/c it's not competitive, and it only encourages horrible K args 
where the "alt" is a vague legalization option. if we want to debate executive
abuses of power in the war on terror, allow the aff to eliminate executive
authority, not merely regulate it.


>===== Original Message From "Matt Gerber" <matt_gerber27 at hotmail.com> =====
>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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Sue Peterson
Director of Forensics
Pepperdine University

"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." 
--John F. Kennedy

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