[eDebate] Agent debate - the Judiciary Branch of the Federal Government

James Herndon jamesherndon3
Fri Jun 2 10:08:46 CDT 2006


I just read over Noah and Brad's post on this issue and thought I could
provide some insight.  The lower courts counterplan had a very high level of
success on the Highschool topic against affs that specified the supreme
court.  The reason is twofold:

1st - all of the literature defending court action talks about past cases
that were successful - in other words they are historic in nature - which
means that inherent in that literature is an argument for originating a case
at the lower court level.  This means that any argument for why the Supreme
Court must act ignores the realistic nature of denying cert to a particular
case and the implications this has on case law.

2nd - All of the literature on why the courts are bad is specific to the
Supreme Court.  The reason this is true is because Rosenberg and others have
done studies that have focused specifically on the result/impact of supreme
court decisions.  As a result, there are really good net benefit cards to
random disads to the Supreme Court that ultimately avoid the lower courts
counterplan. [Professor Harrison has an excellent post on this subject on
legaldebate.com - her blog].

I think the committee would be remiss to ignore Noah's post on the subject
of making the phrase 'the judicial branch of the united states.'  It should
at least be discussed.  If the aff says supreme court then a counterplan to
have a lower court [or even all lower courts - a theoretically questionable
but otherwise basically flawless counterplan] solves all of the aff and
gives the negative a host of net benefits that are unrelated to the aff
entirely and difficult for the aff to defend because there is ultimately
very little literature actually defending the need for supreme court
action.  I do not believe that anyone can produce a quality piece of
evidence defending Supreme Court action - and only supreme court action - to
rule on any of the cases the topic committee is discussing.

So, in a world where the TC forces people to defend Supreme Court via the
resolution but can't produce offense for why the Supreme Court is critical
to the solvency mechanism of an aff then it seems like the generic strategy
is overwhelming.  If the decision is to avoid the agent debate - something
that avoids all of the educational benefits of the topic - then simply
making the phrase 'judicial branch' would undermine the competition for
these arguments.  If, however, the TC thinks these are good debates to have
then the phrase should be included.

I don't have a vested interest necessarily in the outcome of these decisions
but felt like including chiming in.  It looks like the committee is really
working hard towards community input this year and so I thought I'd
participate.

-- 
James H. Herndon III
Director of Speech & Debate
Chattahoochee High School
5230 Taylor Rd.
Alpharetta, GA 30022
(770) 596-1559
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