[eDebate] About the relative size of the topics...

Ede Warner ewarner
Mon Jun 5 19:59:12 CDT 2006

When Will speak's, people listen.  You call for research, but there has been quite a bit done.  Smelko's paper answers many of the arguments about overrule/decision.  I agree with Tripp in part and disagree in part.
I disagree with his (1), that there are multiple ways to OR decision.  I think you have to OR the judgment will be the most limiting and best topicality standard that can be defended.  While many may get outteched on topicality (like us), the truth is that the best interpretation comes from tying decision to the judgement.
de?ci?sion    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (d -s zh n)
n. The passing of judgment on an issue under consideration. The act of reaching a conclusion or making up one's mind. A conclusion or judgment reached or pronounced; a verdict. Firmness of character or action; determination. Sports. A victory won on points in boxing when no knockout has occurred or in wrestling when no fall has occurred. Baseball. A win or loss accorded to a pitcher: has four wins in six decisions. I agree with Tripp's #2- You can OR on different grounds.  I don't agree that means an explosion of the case advantages.  I'll say again, the more you move from advantages which stem directly from the judgement, the more susceptible you are to relatively easy counterplans.  

A legal definition of overrule:
SYLLABICATION:o?ver?rulePRONUNCIATION:    v r-r l TRANSITIVE VERB:Inflected forms: o?ver?ruled, o?ver?rul?ing, o?ver?rules
1a. To disallow the action or arguments of, especially by virtue of higher authority: The defense attorney's objection was overruled by the judge. b. To decide or rule against: overrule a policy decision. c. To declare null and void; reverse. 2. To dominate by strong influence; prevail over. 
Seems consistent with decision as judgment. Add this to some of the contextual definitions coming from the court which say Brown IS NOT an overrule of Plessy but Breckinridge vs Ohio is.  The difference is the willingness to change the judgement of the previous case.  I'll borrow from Smelko liberally to make the point.
>From the decision itself:

Accordingly, we are here confronted with a statute which, by its own words and as applied, purports to punish mere advocacy and to forbid, on pain of criminal punishment, assembly with others merely to advocate the described type of action. 4 Such a statute falls within the condemnation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The contrary teaching of Whitney v. California, supra, cannot be supported, and that decision is therefore overruled. Reversed.  
compared to Brown vs Board:
Whatever may have been the extent of psychological knowledge at the time of Plessy v. Ferguson, this finding is amply supported by modern authority. 11 Any language [347 U.S. 483, 495]   in Plessy v. Ferguson contrary to this finding is rejected. 
We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. This disposition makes unnecessary any discussion whether such segregation also violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 12   
Now, I won't argue that contextual evidence can be found in all kinds of directions, but the point is for the purposes of educational debate on this year's topic, this interpretation seems to make the most sense and is supported by some literature.  

>>> "William J Repko" <repkowil at msu.edu> 6/5/2006 1:07 PM >>>

Enclosed is a condensed version Tripp's post. I selected it b/c I think it 
summarizes one of the most prominent indicts of the list options. 

I react afterwards. 

...I'm trying to figure out which topic to vote for, but -- for now -- I do 
not think I agree w/ Tripp's criticism. 

------------ Tripp ------------------
To those who think they are voting for a "list" topic by voting for the
non-first amendment resolution, I would caution you to think more
carefully....it is not true that there are only 4 possible

(1) Not only are their multiple ways to overrule a decision....but also 
there is no specification of whether the decision has to be overruled in 
whole, in part, in holding, in judgement, or anything of that nature. 

(2) The "list" topics only focus on the action of overrule, not what
REPLACES the old decision.... Arguably the NEW tests put in place by the 
court are the most important. While "overrule" creates a limit on the 
/mechanism /for the INITIAL action, make no mistake that tricky affirmatives 
will be able to come up with many different and new /outcomes/, that might 
even be nearly irrelevant to the original case. The perceived "limit" of the 
"lists", in my mind, don't seem that limiting.
--------Tripp ends------------------ 

let me start by saying that I'm not yet sold that "overrule" will -- in 
actual debates -- be *so simple* for the Aff to comfortably manipulate. I am 
still making my mind up about that. 

Yes, I would have preferred that the committee had no verb in the stem, and 
used prescribed verb for each list-item. 

But, I still need convincing that "overrule" is an utter lock to de-limit.   
(I'd appreciate people posting their side of the T debate) 

If a list topic were to win -- it just seems as though judges would err 
towards limiting T interpretations of the word "overrule". It would reflect 
the rationale of voting for a list option. 

That being said, hypothetically suppose "overrule" is as unquestionably 
de-limiting as (some) critics have claimed... 

Then, why aren;t many of these indicts just as true of the 1st amendment 
topic ?... 

...after all, it uses the same word. 

Area #1 * 

The USSC should curtail the protection provided for free speech by the First 
Amendment of the United States' Constitution by overruling one or more of 
its decisions on obscenity, hate speech, and/or campaign finance. 

...won't these same tricky Affirmatives: 

a) curtail free speech and replace with all sorts of de-limiting alts ?...
b) manipulate the mutiple ways to overrule a decision ?... overrule part of 
a decision, etc...
c) use any "ground" they wish for creative advantage areas. 

The obvious answer is "yes, but... at least the neg will always have a free 
speech good disad"... 

I suppose, but: 

1. This places an awful lot of faith in how great *that* disad is. 

Affs will use their wiggle room to develop an angle on free speech good. 
They'll obviously select Affs with on-point answers to that disad. 

...plus, "free speech good" is far from the scariest disad we've seen built 
into a broad topic. 

2. This places no faith that judges will hold the line on T on the list 

Near as I can tell, the reasoning is: 

  Both topics are very de-limiting, but at least the areas option gives the 
neg a generic to fall back on. 

Voters had best be REALLY convinced that overrule has no limiting function. 
The areas option cannot make a respectable claim that it is the most 
limiting topic -- it almost definitely foresakes predictability. The list 
option only might. 

3. A lot of education stems not from the debating-phase, but the 

Even if "overrule" winds-up rendering the list-topics de-limiting, I still 
think Negs will *feel* they have to be prepared for "normal" Affs. 

...can you fathom teams saying: 

"we don't even need to prepare for the contingency that an Aff will 
overturn the heart of Casey or Morrison. No one will do THAT!!" 

I like that the list topics encourage negs to research the specific cases. 

I fear that the areas option will incentivize a more generic approach to the 
topic. Generics could easily seem like the path of less resistance. To me, 
this defeats the purpose of forced rotation. 

Would appreciate greater discussion from parties re: T defs of "overrule". 


     Leonard Kravitz 

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