College Policy Debate Forums

TOPIC COMMITTEE => 2018-2019 Topic Committee => Topic started by: Kathryn Rubino on May 15, 2018, 05:22:37 AM

Title: First Amendment Topic Paper
Post by: Kathryn Rubino on May 15, 2018, 05:22:37 AM
The First Amendment topic paper.

Title: Re: First Amendment Topic Paper
Post by: Kathryn Rubino on May 22, 2018, 11:10:43 AM
So with 9 quality, but very long, topic papers out there and time constraints being what they are, I thought it'd be a good idea to give my "elevator pitch" on why you should rank First Amendment high on your ballot.
3 reasons:

1- variety of aff impacts
The way the controversy is structured allows for a wide variety of topical Aff impacts. Want to run an aff that attacks white supremacy? You can do that under the hate speech prong of the potential resolution (or use it as a starting point to deconstruct that). Want to talk about terrorism impacts? Your aff could ban ISIS sympathizing videos. If you overturn Citizens United you can talk about a wide range of campaign finance impacts from capitalism, Russian influence in US elections, to NRA lobbying. You want to talk about violence against women? Ban revenge porn.
This topic has something for everyone.

2- great generic neg ground
You might be worried that so many aff possibilities would screw the neg. not so on this topic. Because of the direction of the controversy-- limiting 1A rights-- there is a solid core of academic literature from First Amendment fundamentalists that would argue any limit on the 1A would be terrible. There's a built in slippery slope DA where the aff's erosion of a fundamental right could be linked to a more severe attack on personal liberties. And because of the relatively small size of First Amendment academics, the authors responds to one another in a way that makes for great debate.
This topic also does not divide aff and neg ground along traditional liberal/conservative lines. That means there are neg case cards from both a liberal and conservative point of view. And you can run affs from a wide variety of political perspectives-- from critical race theorists to security experts. As we, as a community, struggle with how to construct a topic that everyone can be comfortable with making sure we select a topic that has quality aff and neg ground from all sides of our community is essential.

3- salient topic for 2018-19
This topic is incredibly timely-- and not in a "oh no, our aff is non-inherent" a week before the NDT sort of way. The issue of free speech rights and who gets to exercise them is being played out on college campuses right now. The alt-right, via Milo Yiannopoulos and other trolls, has launched an assault on college campuses in an attempt to redefine the 1A in a way that suits their particular political agenda. For college kids this is as real world as it comes, a year's worth of research on the topic can only serve them well when the issue blows up at their campus.