[eDebate] Courts Topic?

dbteam dbteam
Mon Apr 17 11:51:45 CDT 2006

i want to make sure this issue raised by sarah and elaborated upon by dallas.

knowing that there would be at least one resolution under a Courts topic area 
that wasn't a "list topic" makes it attractive to those schools that prefer 
their resolutions sans lists. dallas' post is strong support for the claim 
that such resolutions can be crafted and do generate predictable and 
defendable negative ground.

if Courts is the chosen topic area, the resolution ballot should include 
nonlist options. in fact, this is true of all the areas.

is it possible to get some confirmation from the topic committee that - 
whatever topic area i selected - there will be nonlist resolution options on 
the ballot? if this is feasible for some areas, but not others, can we make 
that known now. it WILL have an impact on how some schools vote.


>===== Original Message From Dallas Perkins <dperkins at fas.harvard.edu> =====
>I like the idea suggested by Sarah:  A courts topic without any lists.  It
>is possible fairly strictly and predictably to limit what types of cases
>the aff may reverse, while assuring the negative solid ground in every
>Just off the top of my head, let me suggest a few.
>1.) Resolved that one or more existing Supreme Court rulings extending or
>expanding rights under the First Amendment to the US Constitution should
>be overruled.
>There are a lot of cases, perhaps a thousand.  If that is too many, the
>topic could be constrained, limited to one of the five rights enumerated
>in the First Amendment.  Can you name them all?  There is freedom of
>religion, freedom of speech, freedom of peaceable assembly, freedom of
>petition, and freedom of the press.  (Maybe there are two freedoms of
>religion, free exercise, and freedom from state establishment of
>In each case, the aff would have considerable flexibility, but the neg
>would have some really solid generic ground, i.e., First Amendment
>Freedoms Good, Judge.
>2.) Resolved that one or more Supreme Court decisions establishing or
>extending a Federal Constitutional Right to Privacy should be overruled.
>We debated this one time, but the wording was too imprecise, allowing the
>aff to go both directions on privacy.  This topic also makes Kuswa happy,
>because it does not specify an agent; perhaps an international court could
>do it?  A constitutional convention?  The aff has considerable
>flexibility:  abortion, contraception, euthanasia, gay rights, etc.
>However, the neg again has solid, predictable ground:  Privacy Good.
>3.) Resolved that the Supreme Court should overrule one or more of its
>decisions holding that an act of Congress exceeded Article I authority.
>Ryan Galloway has identified many of the cases that would be topical:
>federalism cases, limits on federal legislative power generally.  I have
>one reservation about this topic and the resulting aff and neg ground.
>Since the topic will result in cases that give Congress new powers, the
>advantage areas will be unpredictable, and the negative ground will be
>amorphous, with serious uniqueness issues.  I love the substance of this
>debate though.
>4.) Resolved that one or more Supreme Court decisions expanding or
>extending intellectual property rights should be reversed.
>Notice several things about this topic---
>  a.) the word "reversed" is broader than "overruled."  A legislature can
>reverse a statutory holding by changing a statute.
>  b.) it's possible to make it more narrow, as by saying "patent rights."
>  c.) the aff is always locked into saying IP bad; the neg always has IP
>good, biz con, etc.
>5.) Resolved that the US Supreme Court should substantially limit
>Executive Power to prosecute the War on Terror.
>This is admittedly awfully close to the high school topic.  The Executive
>Order CP is a powerful neg tool, maybe too powerful.  On the upside, the
>literature is big but predictable, lots of good K debates about the T
>word.  This topic also might allow the S Ct to act in ways other than
>ruling on a case, possibly using its considerable administrative powers
>over the federal courts.
>Our friend and ex-USC debater Lindsay Harrison has written suggesting more
>topics:  overruling a case limiting the reach of equal protection (I hate
>it when the aff gets to argue rights good, but that's just me) or due
>process (ditto.)
>Overall, I believe the topic committee could take the mandate of a "Courts
>Topic" and do with it almost anything it wanted, leaving the voters with a
>broad array of actual topics from which to choose.
>eDebate mailing list
>eDebate at ndtceda.com

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