[eDebate] Coalition of the list-supporter

Ede Warner e0warn01
Sat Jun 3 18:10:37 CDT 2006

There was no consensus of this opinion on the committee and this was
certainly not how the Supreme Court topic played out in the early 90's. 
First, the word "decision" is a check.  There is a topicality debate to
be had if one overturns lesser parts of a decision but leaves the
"landmark" part of the case in tact.  That was repeatedly the position
of many on the committee that debated the privacy topic, as well as
borne out by how it was debated in 92.  Joe's claim (that those who do
the research will agree with him) is merely speculation from his
position as a lawyer, not necessarily from the position of what cases
make strategically the most sense, and certainly not from the
perspective that perhaps for the first time this year, affirmative
debaters have a host of content areas they already have strong opinions
about and WILL WANT TO TAKE ON THE TOPICS, not run to the margins.  
Second, not everyone has strategic advantage as their top priority (as
perhaps is more important to a lawyer), there are certainly a group of
debaters in our community where the strategic advantage is the primary
concern. However, there is a growing number of people in this community
who want to advocate issues important to them.  I contend that at least
some of them will want to overturn the heart of the decision.  If you
are a pre-bid caliber debater and a first round or a championship is
your goal, then the curtail first amendment topic is the most strategic
for you. And if you get the lists, the likelihood of you running to the
margins of a decision for strategic value is high.   If you are a young
debater who is already invested in one or more of the social issues that
the topic committeee carefully created a pedagogical opportunity for,
then you are not likely to run to the margins of one of the decisions.
You see, Joe's scare tactics won't be the majority of our novice
debates this year, nor our junior varsity.  I'll argue that most of the
teams in open in the CEDA East will take on the heart of issues like
abortion, reducing presidential authority, or affirmative action head-on
and won't run to the margins of the topic.  You see interest in
something changes desire to run.  These teams will have a desire to
debate the heart of the decision.
I'll end with a piece of our story.  This year, we have targeted
incoming first year students that have received race-based scholarships
to debate.  We'll take as many of them as we can.  Our pedagogical goal
is that we want them to be able to defend the value of a race-based
scholarships when they are done with the season, something that our
University believes they cannot generally do.  We want them when they
become lawyers to be able to fight for the legacy of affirmative action
when they are in a position to use their alumni monies to influence
University policy.  Will any of these students win the NDT, or CEDA
Nationals, or even get a first round?  Nope, probably not.  But will
they run to the margins of overturning a part of Gratz or Milligan that
doesn't address the current problems of affirmative action.  Nope,
assuredly not!
These arguments of authority--I'm a lawyer and I've read the stuff are
not persuasive the way they are being deployed, to scare us that we
can't have an educational season.  And even if these arguments have HUGE
merit, having our students read about this historical precential
landmark cases in preparing for the debates around the margins still has
a huge value....I'll conclude with this:  I won't attempt to threaten or
mock by inferring ignorance anyone who chooses to vote for the first
amendment topic, and I won't denigrate it either.  People that choose to
vote for it will have their reasons, and I'll respect those.  But I
would hope that my call to those who decide they want to debate one of
the lists, won't be insulted for that choice, but treated respectfully
and as properly exercising their rights to create a winning ballot
strategy.  Peace out,

>>> "Joe Patrice" <joepatrice at gmail.com> 6/3/2006 6:42:25 PM >>>

I do not want to discourage a coalition of those with similar topic
worldviews, but as both an attorney and a member of the topic committee
let me urge everyone, before someone joins Ede in this coalition, let me
urge that you do the background work that I'm sure Ede and I have done
that have led us to different conclusions. 

Personally, I think as you read the literature, both specific to the
cases and generally as to how the legal system operates, you'll find
that these are not list topics but mega-area topics.  I have said
multiple times during the webcast and I will say again that the
"smallest" list topic: 

The United States Supreme Court should overrule one or more of the
following decisions:
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)
U.S. v. Morrison (2000)
Milliken v. Bradley (1974)
Gratz v. Bollinger (2003)

is precisely co-extensive with the topic:

The United States Supreme Court should overrule one or more of its
decisions in the areas of privacy, abortion, the authority of the
federal government to pass social legislation binding upon states, and
racial discrimination. 

Others may (and do) disagree but I think it is topical to say "the
Supreme Court should reject the test articulated in Morrison because it
limits access to abortion clinics legislation (or gun control, or
domestic violence, or...)."  Many different "tests" can be the basis of
the overrule and that means they can be used to access the entire area a
case is in rather than just affecting one case.  

I think the area topic allows a great deal of flexibility...it just
offers flexibility in one area of the law, not 5 or 6 or 7 law school
courses worth of law.


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