[eDebate] Fwd: Coalition of the list-supporter

Ede Warner ewarner
Sun Jun 4 11:06:57 CDT 2006

Let me make an argument by authority:  the folks who have debated or
coached on privacy seem to have less worries about the size of the
"lists" topics, than those who didn't.  Who would have thought prior to
a week ago that those big topic folks like Stables, Galloway, Tim
O'Donnell and Mancuso would side with that crazy, boundary-less Warner
in support of lists that are bigger than the common area topic?  

Let me clearly respond to Joe:  I believe that the lists are not as big
as you suggest and the 1A topic is bigger than you suggest.  I don't
think either will be large literature wise, although there is a lot of
literature about these cases.  The reason is that we have solid and
predictable negative strategies which will functionally reduce the
literature size and make many of your arguments non-starters on the
affirmative and much more likely disad ground on the negative, which
shouldn't pose a problem.
Contention I- Lists ain't that big
Joe is missing the application of debate strategy and tactics to the
arguments he suggests.  And I'll defend that many of the possible
arguments are so debate unfriendly, they won't require research.  Let's
add some debate contextuality to have this discussion (although I'm long
removed from such methods, I'll give it a shot).  Army's team of Bob the
Builder and Dora the Explorer are affirmative debating Louisville's team
of Lilo and Stitch on the negative.  Panel:  Salt and Pepa and
Spinderella judging.  Oh wait, Spin's not talking to Salt n Pepa over
money matters, so let's add Dallas to the panel (rap fan that he is and
Bob and Dora run Morrison with gun control advantage, no mention of
VAWA anywhere.  Louisville's strat:
I) Topicality on decision- You are reading cards talking about the
precedential value of Morrison but not from the decision.  In a riveting
c-x, Stitch asks Bob to read the part of the decision that talks about
gun control.  Stitch says it doesn't, but my topicality arguments come
from the Malgor decision, where the court uses Morrison as precedent to
justify not having gun control.  Louisville argues that there is a
difference between topicality cards from any Supreme Court decision
versus cards from Morrison.
II)  Counterplan- Overrule Lopez or the later decision.  Make arguments
that Morrison should remain intact for X reasons, all net benefits.
III) Gender K - You commit violence against womyn by using Morrison and
ignoring core issues of the case.
3-0 Louisville.  We got Salt on the CP, Pepa on the K, and Dallas, yes
Dallas, on T.
Next tournament:  Bob and Dora do it again, but add VAWA advantage to
the 1AC.  Louisville responds with:
I) Extra topicality debate.  Same as above.  Plan has to amend Morrison
in some way to ADD GUN CONTROL language.  Since not in original Morrison
decision, it's extra topical.
II) Counterplan out gun control and debate VAWA straight up.  With
whatever disadv, k's, case turns as net benefits you'd normally use.
2-1 Louisville.  Dallas simply unwilling to vote on extra-topicality. 
A man's gotta have limits.
I'll say it again:  having literature or arguments doesn't make them
good strategies.  And cases being cited with precedential value doesn't
mean they will be affirmative case areas.  This literature at best, will
be good disad ground.  If you overrule Morrison, you'll also change gun
control won't go anywhere competitively.
Contention II- 1st Amendment is potentially huge
Louisville is affirmative.  Lilo breaks out the Louisville hate speech
affirmative.  How?  We overrule RAV and we define a different specific
act of hate speech in every round.  In this round it's the conferderate
flag, the next it's cross-burning, the next it's Elvis Pressley
memorials. Each type of hate speech could be defined in RAV since it is
about WHAT content is permissible to regulate and says generically that
hate speeh can and can't be restricted.
Army's neg strat:
Extra-topicality:  You can't specify what content is permissible.  You
can only overrule the decision.
Counterplan- Legislatively just ban the conferderate flag.
Louisville says: On extra-topicality:  We are only defining what hate
speech can be curtailed which is the heart of the decision which is what
you have to overrule.  In fact, the decision creates different levels of
restrictable speech versus non-restrictable speech, so we are well
within the topic to do the same, only with a different criteria.  We
think the lone exception should be Confederate flags, everything else
should fall under impermissible content like the court already says.  On
the counterplan- Can't it's currently unconstitutional.
You can't have it both ways.  If the lists are limitless, so is the
first amendment.  If the literature size can be controlled through solid
and predictable negative strategies on first amendment, then it can as
well on the lists.
>>> "Joe Patrice" <joepatrice at gmail.com> 6/4/2006 3:39:23 AM >>>

Let me clarify one thing for fairness' sake -- I think Ede and I both
know generally how large this topic will be (literature wise if not
"running to the margins" wise).  My words were not intended to say that
Ede was wrong (in fact I think he is right when he appeals to those who
want the most choice about different areas of law to discuss) as much as
words of caution to those who may think "we want a small topic...we
should vote for a list because a list has been a good limiter in the
past."  I don't think (and I may be wrong) that either Ede or I think
that sentence is true.  So I'm saying, "if you value smaller, vote
'area' AND likewise, if you want breadth, don't be duped into thinking
the 'area' topic is the broad one, because the list topics provide the
most breadth of issues for debate and exploration." 

Decision is not a check (though it is the BEST check in an overrule
context).  The decision in the (very specific) Morrison case is
overruled if the Court rejects the Lopez standard, and that implicates
every other federal social law.  Perhaps there is a T debate if the
lesser part of the case is overruled, but overturning the landmark part
of these cases is all you need to unlimit the topic in my estimation. 
The privacy topic was different in the way that it was exactly like the
First Amendment topic...limited to one body of lit.  Even the smallest
list topic is the size of the privacy topic at the point Casey is
included AND then it is expanded by the multiple of every other case on
the list. 

I agree my guess is speculation, but I think it is a speculation that
both Ede and I share -- the topic will be big as far as involving
multiple bodies of lit.  That is not a normative statement about the
quality of big v. small topics.  You can decide that for yourselves,
which is why both options are on the ballot.  I just don't want people
to back lists thinking "this is 4,5,6,7,8 Affs" when it is really much

I don't think a debater looking at the Morrison Aff is running to the
margins to talk about gun control.  In fact, the lit does that. 
Moreover this is why I always supported Galloway's original federalism
paper...this is ONE good TOPIC.  But today it is one part of a bigger

Strategic considerations are the least of my concerns at this point. 
Being a lawyer affects my opinion to the extent that I think the lit
actually directs people AWAY from the core of the issues in the cases. 
Morrison is a domestic violence decision, and domestic violence will be
discussed by some Affs.  But the literature, even limited to law
reviews, is about "what Morrison means for [insert unrelated federalism
issue here]."  That isn't strategic...if I thought gun control was an
important issue for discussion then the lit would support me that
Morrison is the key case to overrule in that regard. 

I completely agree that Gratz and Milliken are salient cases to debate.
 I think they are the most focused of the decisions on the lists (as I
said at one point...each of Casey, Quirin and Morrison are what pushes
the topic to the periphery) and I would have supported a one or two case
topic that consisted of one or both of Gratz and Milliken.  I think the
topics make it very very big to debate those two Supreme Court decisions
AND every other topic.  The community may disagree.  


On 6/3/06, Ede Warner < e0warn01 at gwise.louisville.edu> wrote: Joe,
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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