2022 — Greer, SC/US
Varsity Congressional Debate
Congressional Debate is a simulation of a legislative day divided into 2 sessions of about 3 hours each. At the beginning of each session a student gets elected by his fellow competitors to be the "presiding officer" (PO), and he or she calls on speakers fairly. (For our tournament purposes, we will get an experienced competitor to preside.)
If a student wishing to speak stands and is chosen by the PO, the student has 3 minutes to give a speech about a bill or resolution at hand.
After each speech, the speaker will be "cross-examined" for 1 minute by his fellow competitors, selected by the PO. This cross examination time is divided in 30 seconds segment per questioner, in which the questioner and the speaker will interact back and forth. The only exception to this format is the cross examination after the first Affirmative speech on each bill and the first Negative, for they will have 2 minutes of cross examination as opposed to just 1 minute as explained above.
While the PO will be judged based on his or her ability to effectively run the session, the speakers will be judged on their ability to effectively play the role of a Senator or House Representative, on the content of their speech, on their style of presentation, and on their activity and presence within the chamber. All students receive one score per speech from 1 to 6, 6 being the best.
At the end of each session, each judge will rank the top 6 competitors independently of their speech scores, and the lowest cumulative rank at the end of the day will place the highest.
There is also a "Parliamentarian" that stays for the whole day and serves the dual function to resolve disputes within parliamentary motions and procedure, as well as breaking ties with his or her rank given at the end of the whole day. The Parliamentarian also collects votes at the end of the day to elect the "Best Presiding Officer Award".