Tarheel Forensic League Virtual State Championship
2022 — NSDA Campus, NC/US
Congress Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
A little bit about me: I coach for Millburn High School in New Jersey. I completed on the circuit in high school and college.
I do my very best to be as non-interventionist as possible, but I know some students like reading judges paradigms to get a better sense of what they're thinking. I hope that the below is helpful :).
Here are some things to consider if I'm your Parliamentarian/ Judge in Congressional Debate:
- I am a sucker for a well-executed authorship, so please don't be afraid to give the first speech! Just because you don't have refutation doesn't mean it isn't a good speech. I will be more inclined to giving you a better speech score if you stand up and give the speech when no one is willing to do so because it shows preparedness.
- Bouncing off of the above bullet point, one of the things I really dislike while at national circuit tournaments is having no one stand up to give the earlier speeches (particularly in out rounds). You should be prepared to speak on either side of the legislation. You're there to debate, so debate.
- Asking the same question over and over to different speakers isn't particularly impressive to me (only in extreme circumstances should this ever be done). Make sure that you are catering the questions to the actual arguments from the speech and not asking generic questions that could be asked of anyone.
- Make my job easy as the judge. I will not make any links for you; you need to make the links yourself.
- Warrants are so important! Don't forget them!
- If you are giving one of the final speeches on a piece of legislation, I expect you to weigh the arguments and impacts that we have heard throughout the debate. Unless there has been a gross negligence in not bringing up a particular argument that you think is revolutionary and changes the debate entirely, you shouldn't really be bringing up new arguments at this point. There are, of course, situations where this may be necessary, but this is the general rule of thumb. Use your best judgment :).
- Please do your best to not read off of your pad. Engage with the audience/ judges, and don't feel as though you have to have something written down verbatim. I'm not expecting a speech to be completely flawless when you are delivering it extemporaneously. I historically score speeches higher if delivered extemporaneously and have a couple of minor fluency lapses than a speech read off of a sheet of paper with perfect fluency.
- Be active in the chamber! Remember, the judges are not ranking students based upon who is giving the best speeches, but who are the best legislators overall. This combines a myriad of factors, including speeches, questioning, overall activity, leadership in the chamber, decorum, and active listening (i.e. not practicing your speech while others are speaking, paying attention, etc.) Keep this in mind before going into a session.
Let me know if you have any questions! :)
Here are some things to consider if I'm your judge in Public Forum:
- I am really open to hearing most any type of argument. Do your thing, be clear, and enjoy yourselves!
- It's important to me that you maintain clarity throughout the round.
- Take advantage of your final focus. Tell me why I should vote for you, don't solely focus on defensive arguments.
- Maintain organization throughout the round - your speeches should tell me what exact argument you are referring to the in the round. Sign posting is key! A messy debate is a poorly executed debate.
- I don't weigh one particular type of argument over another. I vote solely based on the flow, and will not impose my pre-existing beliefs and convictions on you. It's your show, not mine!
- Be polite!
- Make my job easy. I should not have to (and will not) make any links for you. You have to make the link yourselves. There should be a clear connection to your impacts.
- Weighing impacts is critical to your success, so please do it!
Any questions, please feel free to ask!
Hi all! I am the Head Coach of Speech and Debate at Pinecrest High School in North Carolina. I am a former extemper with pretty deep knowledge of the happenings in the world.
--I am fine with speed, but remember with speed comes the risk I won't get it on the flow. If you see me stop typing/pen is no longer writing/I am staring blankly at you, consider that your cue to slow down.
--Make sure to differentiate your sourcing. Authors' last names are great, but tell me where the source comes from first. John Doe from the Council on Foreign Relations in 2022 sounds better than Doe 22. After that, you can refer to the source as CFR or Doe and I'm good on what you are referring to.
--Please weigh. Please. You have to do this in order for me to be able to determine a winner.
--Respect. Respect your opponents, partner (if in PF), self, and the host school. Competitive debate is a great activity; but you must maintain some sense of decorum throughout your time in the round.
--When you go to an in-house recess to determine splits, or inquire as to why no one is speaking, you have done yourself and your fellow competitors a disservice by not being prepared. Please avoid this as much as possible.
--I'm fine with rehashing arguments to a point, but you need to add more evidence to support this rehashed point. Something niche and unique that can catch the opposing side off guard.
--Presiding Officers: thank you for volunteering to run the chamber. Please only defer to the parli when you are unsure of certain procedure.
Carmen Kohn’s Paradigm
I have been judging speech and debate events since 2016. I am also currently the Director and Head Coach for Charlotte Catholic HS in NC.
Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum:
I enjoy both the ethical component of the discussions in LD and the current topicality of most PF topics. I appreciate the informative nature of these debates, especially in the current political climate.
I am a classic flow judge for both events and am looking for good clash between opponents. In LD, I place more emphasis on contentions rather than value, however, that evidence must clearly link back to the VC. I am also more interested in the impacts. A dropped contention is not automatic grounds for a win. It depends on the relevance of the argument. When rebutting, don't just extend the author's card. I am not writing down all of the authors. Please remind me of the evidence that was presented. I prefer the well-thought out, well-paced arguments. While debates are won based on evidence presented, I do find a direct correlation between technical speaking abilities and evidence offered. I also make a note of how professionally debaters present themselves and behave towards myself and each other.
I would classify myself as a advanced traditional lay judge. I am not a progressive judge. Do not run theory shells or any other "progressive" argument with me. While I do appreciate the occasional non-traditional argument, especially towards the end of the topic time frame, all cases should be realistic and applicable in the current environment in which we find ourselves. Please debate the current resolution.
Absolutely No Spreading!!! I cannot follow it, especially with online tournaments. You will lose the round. This is probably my biggest pet peeve. I feel there is no educational value to that in a competitive environment. You run the risk that I will not have caught all of your arguments and may miss a main point in my flow. Please keep technical jargon to a minimum also. Throwing around debate jargon and just cards identified by author gets too confusing to follow. And if you ask a question during cross-ex, please let your opponent answer and finish their sentences. It’s unprofessional to cut someone off. Signposts and taglines are always appreciated. I generally do not disclose or give oral RFD. I want time to review my notes. Debates where opponents respect each other and are having fun, arguing solid contentions, are the best ones to watch.
I've just started judging Congress. My "comments" are usually summaries of your speeches. Occasional commentary on the delivery and/or content. Please interact with previously given speeches (by Rep name also) and don't just rehash a "first speech". If you can bring a new point to the discussion 6 speeches in, that is awesome.
I will give points to POs. I appreciate what is involved in POing. During nomination speeches, it can be assumed that a PO will run a "fast and efficient" chamber. No need to state the obvious. However, if that actually doesn't take place, a lower rank will result.
Good luck to all!!
I have seven years of experience competing in high school and collegiate debate in the state of Florida. I also have another six or so years of experience judging debate tournament. In high school, I competed in Student Congress, Extemp, and LD. In college, I competed in Extemp and Parliamentary Debate. I am very passionate about debate, as I feel it had a lasting impact on who I am today as an adult. Speech and debate taught me to have compassion for others and to stand up for what I believe. Most importantly, many of my closest friends all these years later, were my fellow competitors in the past.
My paradigm for Student Congress is the following: Being active in the round in terms of making motions and asking questions during CX is important. You're not just judged based off your speech, but how you conduct yourself as a legislator. I believe it's also important to respond the arguments made by the opposition, as it shows you can think on your feet and you're paying attention to what others are saying. Try to avoid rehashing arguments already made by other members of the chambers. Be aggressive in getting opportunities to speak more often. If you are elected PO, focus on being fair, fast, and clear in how you run the chambers. Some judges may overlook the importance of a good PO, but I think a strong PO is vital to a smooth and competitive session of debate. Make sure to have evidence in your speeches. You can utilize research from newspapers, magazines, journal articles, and even the U.S. Constitution. If you feel a bill violates a certain amendment in the Constitution, make sure to highlight this in the round.
My paradigm for LD and PF is the following: I expect all debaters to be competitive with each other, but still maintain respect for each other and the event itself. I am a big supporter of utilizing sources and evidence to support each and every argument you make. I am not a fan of spreading in debate events, but I understand the strategic reasons for it. However, if I have trouble hearing what you're saying because of your speed, do not expect great speaker points from me. I believe quality in terms of arguments is even more important the quantity of arguments. I appreciate and enjoy a lively CX, so please don't overlook in rounds. Lastly, in debate events I think it is vital for you to respond to every argument made by your opponent and frown upon dropping arguments. However, it is on your opponent to point out that you dropped an argument.
I am the head debate coach at James Madison Memorial HS (2002 - present)
I am the head debate coach at Madison West HS (2014 - present)
I was formerly an assistant at Appleton East (1999-2002)
I competed for 3 years (2 in LD) at Appleton East (1993-1996)
I am a plaintiff's employment/civil rights lawyer in real life. I coach (or coached, depending on the year) every event in both debate and IE, with most of my recent focus on PF, Congress, and Extemp. Politically I'm pretty close to what you'd presume about someone from Madison, WI.
Congress at the bottom.
Send me case/speech docs at the start please (email@example.com) email or sharing a google doc is fine, I don't much care if I don't have access to it after the round if you delink me or if you ask me to delete it from my inbox. I have a little trouble picking up finer details in rounds where connections are fuzzy and would rather not have to ask mid round to finish my flow.
(WDCA if a team is uncomfortable sharing up front that's fine, but any called evidence should then be shared).
If your ev is misleading as cut/paraphrased or is cited contrary to the body of the evidence, I get unhappy. If I notice a problem independently there is a chance I will intervene and ignore the ev, even without an argument by your opponent. My first role has to be an educator maintaining academic honesty standards. You could still pick up if there is a path to a ballot elsewhere. If your opponents call it out and it's meaningful I will entertain voting for a theory type argument that justifies a ballot.
I prefer a team that continues to tell a consistent story/advocacy through the round. I do not believe a first speaking team's rebuttal needs to do more than refute the opposition's case and deal with framework issues. The second speaking team ideally should start to rebuild in the rebuttal; I don't hold it to be mandatory but I find it much harder to vote for a team that doesn't absent an incredible summary. What is near mandatory is that if you are going to go for it in the Final Focus, it should probably be extended in the Summary. I will give cross-x enough weight that if your opponents open the door to bringing the argument back in the grand cross, I'll still consider it.
Rate wise going quick is fine but there should be discernible variations in rate and/or tone to still emphasize the important things. If you plan on referring to arguments by author be very sure the citations are clear and articulated well enough for me to get it on my flow.
I'm a fairly staunch proponent of paraphrasing. It's an academically more realistic exercise. It also means you need to have put in the work to understand the source (hopefully) and have to be organized enough to pull it up on demand and show what you've analyzed (or else). A really good quotation used in full (or close to it) is still a great device to use. In my experience as a coach I've run into more evidence ethics, by far, with carded evidence, especially when teams only have a card, or they've done horrible Frankenstein chop-jobs on the evidence, forcing it into the quotation a team wants rather than what the author said. Carded evidence also seems to encourage increases in speed of delivery to get around the fact that an author with no page limit's argument is trying to be crammed into 4 min of speech time. Unless its an accommodation for a debater, if you need to share speech docs before a speech, something's probably gone a bit wrong with the world.
On this vein, I've developed a fairly keen annoyance with judges who outright say "no paraphrasing." It's simply not something any team can reasonably adapt to in the context of a tournament. I'm not sure how much the teams of the judges or coaches taking this position would be pleased with me saying I don't listen to cards or I won't listen to a card unless it's read 100% in full (If you line down anything, I call it invalid). It's the #1 thing where I'm getting tempted to pull the trigger on a reciprocity paradigm.
Exchange of evidence is not optional if it is asked for. I will follow the direction of a tournament on the exchange timing, however, absent knowledge of a specific rule, I will not run prep for either side when a reasonable number of sources are requested. Debaters can prep during this time as you should be able to produce sources in a reasonable amount of time and "not prepping" is a bit of a fiction and/or breaks up the flow of the round.
Citations should include a date when presented if that date will be important to the framing of the issue/solution, though it's not a bad practice to include them anyhow. More important, sources should be by author name if they are academic, or publication if journalistic (with the exception of columnists hired for their expertise). This means "Harvard says" is probably incorrect because it's doubtful the institution has an official position on the policy, similarly an academic journal/law review publishes the work of academics who own their advocacy, not the journal. I will usually ask for sources if during the course of the round the claims appear to be presented inconsistently to me or something doesn't sound right, regardless of a challenge, and if the evidence is not presented accurately, act on it.
Speaker points. Factors lending to increased points: Speaking with inflection to emphasize important things, clear organization, c-x used to create ground and/or focus the clash in the round, and telling a very clear story (or under/over view) that adapts to the actual arguments made. Factors leading to decreased points: unclear speaking, prep time theft (if you say end prep, that doesn't mean end prep and do another 10 seconds), making statements/answering answers in c-x, straw-man-ing opponents arguments, claiming opponent drops when answers were made, and, the fastest way for points to plummet, incivility during c-x. Because speaker points are meaningless in out rounds, the only way I can think of addressing incivility is to simply stop flowing the offending team(s) for the rest of the round.
Finally, I flow as completely as I can, generally in enough detail that I could debate with it. However, I'm continually temped to follow a "judge a team as they are judging yours" versus a "judge a team as you would want yours judged" rule. Particularly at high-stakes tournaments, including the TOC, I've had my teams judged by a judge who makes little or no effort to flow. I can't imagine any team at one of those tournaments happy with that type of experience yet those judges still represent them. I think lay-sourced judges and the adaptation required is a good skill and check on the event, but a minimum training and expectation of norms should be communicated to them with an attempt to comply with them. To a certain degree this problem creates a competitive inequity - other teams face the extreme randomness imposed by a judge who does not track arguments as they are made and answered - yet that judge's team avoids it. I've yet to hit the right confluence of events where I'd actually adopt "untrained lay" as a paradigm, but it may happen sometime. [UPDATE: I've gotten to do a few no-real-flow lay judging rounds this year thanks to the increase in lay judges at online tournaments]. Bottom line, if you are bringing judges that are lay, you should probably be debating as if they are your audience.
The later in the cycle you speak, the more rebuttal your speech should include. Repeating the same points as a prior speaker is probably not your best use of time.
If you speak on a side, vote on that side if there wasn't an amendment. If you abstain, I should understand why you are abstaining (like a subsequent amendment contrary to your position).
I'm not opposed to hearing friendly questions in c-x as a way to advance your side's position if they are done smartly. If your compatriot handles it well, points to you both. If they fumble it, no harm to you and negative for them. C-x doesn't usually factor heavily into my rankings, often just being a tie breaker for people I see as roughly equal in their performance.
For the love of God, if it's not a scenario/morning hour/etc. where full participation on a single issue is expected, call to question already. With expanded questioning now standard, you don't need to speak on everything to stay on my mind. Late cycle speeches rarely offer something new and it's far more likely you will harm yourself with a late speech than help. If you are speaking on the same side in succession it's almost certain you will harm yourself, and opposing a motion to call to question to allow successive speeches on only one side will also reflect as a non-positive.
A good sponsorship speech, particularly one that clarifies vagueness and lays out solvency vs. vaguely talking about the general issue (because, yeah, we know climate change is bad, what about this bill helps fix it), is the easiest speech for me to score well. You have the power to frame the debate because you are establishing the legislative intent of the bill, sometimes in ways that actually move the debate away from people's initially prepped positions.
In a chamber where no one has wanted to sponsor or first negate a bill, especially given you all were able to set a docket, few things make me want to give a total round loss, than getting no speakers and someone moving for a prep-time recess. This happened in the TOC finals two years ago, on every bill. My top ranks went to the people who accepted the responsibility to the debate and their side to give those early speeches.