Bellarmine Rhetoric Congressional Debate Tournament
2022 — San Jose, CA/US
Congress Judges Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
refer to judge: (first name-Aswin; last name-Surya)'s paradigm
I have coached Lincoln Douglass debate for 5 years. For me, excellent debaters are reasonable, efficient, articulate, logical, clear, audience focussed, fair, and adept at both offense and defense. Effective debaters provide a clear and direct weighing mechanism for why they are winning or have won the round, and they link back to the value criterion clearly and directly. I don't like fast debate. Debate in the real world for me as a human. I don't like tricks and manipulations. Debate your opponents' best arguments, represent them fairly, and use logic, analytics, and critical thinking to clash convincingly. Do the fundamentals well: good speaking skills, look to the audience, good sportspersonship, good clarity of enunciation, energy, posture, concrete framing, big picture framing, signposting, clash, clash, clash etc.
I'm Aakash Jain, I'm currently a senior at Bellarmine College Prep. I've participated in Policy debate at all levels, from parents to circuit tournaments, Congressional Debate, and have done a little bit of public forum debate. I've also done Original Advocacy speech.
If you are a Rhetoric freshman, please ignore this completely - just do what Mr. Langerman/Cleary has taught you and you'll be fine.
Generally, I'm fine with anything in your rounds, but make sure to be clear and courteous throughout the debate.
Telling me how I should vote through the debate is really the gold standard of being an effective debater, please do.
In the rounds I will be judging, novice rounds, I would generally recommend not reading Kritikal arguments or talking particularly quickly. Instead, you should stick to counterplans, disadvantages, or best of all stock issues. I personally have mainly read kritikal arguments, so I'm fine with them if you read them well.
If I can't understand your speaking in the round, I'll say clear once.
CSU LONG BEACH JACK HOWE 2022 UPDATE: I haven't judged circuit debate since 2017 so I'm out of practice. If you have me in the back of the room, please go slower - ESPECIALLY ON ANALYTICS. I won't be able to understand you if you fully spread your pre-written analytic blocks, so please slow down. I'm the head director for Bellarmine's program so I spend most of my time these days coaching speech and slow debate.
FOR STATE & NATIONALS: If I am judging you in debate at the CHSSA State tournament or NSDA Nationals, please do not treat me as a purely circuit judge, especially if I'm on a panel with other judges who are clearly not circuit-oriented. I believe that those tournaments are excellent forums for a type of debate that prioritizes judge adaptation and a slower, more lay style of debate. So, do not feel you have to go fast to try to cater to me. At these tournaments, I'll hold you to much higher standards in terms of the evidence quality, the specificity of the link, and the logical coherence of your positions. I will love you if you successfully criticize contrived internal link scenarios, the squirelly/shady arguments, and blippy line-by-line analysis in your CXs and speeches.
How to get high speaker points and win my ballot:
My greatest frustrations with the vast majority of debate rounds are two-fold: 1) a lack of comparative engagement with the other team's arguments and 2) a lack of well-impacted analysis of why your arguments are reasons I should vote for you. Speech docs seem to exacerbate both of these problems, as teams rely on reading pre-written blocks. More and more, I feel a sense of impending existential dread as I realize that nothing meaningful in the debate round is going to happen until the 2NR and 2AR and that everything else is a game of seeing which issues get undercovered. Let me break down my two biggest frustrations:
1) comparative analysis - I understand that you have beautifully constructed blocks to certain arguments but often times, those blocks are not directly responsive to the other team's argument, and so I'm left with back-and-forth disputes with no clear framework of how to resolve them. The quickest way to get good speaker points with me is to listen critically to the warrants of the other team's arguments and give comparative analysis that explains why your warrants are superior.
2) impacting important arguments - Though debaters implicitly understand the importance of impact calc, they often think about it incorrectly. Meaningful impact calc isn't exclusively about magnitude, timeframe, and probability. That's rarely how rounds are resolved. That type of impact calc presupposes that you're ahead on the other parts of the flow. The best impact calc explains why the arguments that you're ahead on in the round are reasons to vote for you and why those arguments are more important than the other teams arguments. Often times, teams get frustrated that a dropped argument didn't warrant an immediate vote for their team. If a dropped argument is not adequately impacted and framed, and the other team has more compelling offense, then most rational judges will still not vote for you. I see this most often in framework debates against identity politics affirmatives. The framework debaters are often confused how they lost the round, despite being "ahead" on some line-by-line issues. However, in those debates, the identity politics team is often far ahead in terms of impacts and framing why those impacts outweigh any of the line-by-line framework arguments. So, to put it simply, explain why your arguments matter.
Finally, please go slower on theory than you would with other judges - I debated in high school and coach policy debate now, but I also direct a program that coaches students in speech (IE) and lay debate, so I don't watch 20+ fast rounds a year, like many judges on the circuit.
My experience: I debated in high school for Bellarmine College Prep (San Jose, CA) from 2007-2011 and went to Michigan 7-week during that time but did not debate in college -- so I was out of the circuit for a couple of years when identity politics K and planless affs became popular. Now, I'm a coach at Bellarmine. I don't judge much on the circuit now that I direct Bellarmine's S&D program. I would recommend going a bit slower, especially on theory arguments, if you want to make sure that I'm able to flow everything. That also means that you should explain your warrants and arguments more than you might for other judges.
The more case-specific you are, the better. Far too many teams do not engage with case in a substantive way. Also, don't be afraid to make analytics – smart, true analytics hold a lot of sway with me, and it’s very strategic to have them in the 1NC and 2AC. If I see that you’re actually engaging the debate and critically thinking instead of just reading blocks and ignoring what the other team said I will be much more willing to give you higher speaks. That said:
Topicality – you must do a good job of explaining your interpretation and why it’s good for debate (or why allowing the aff to be included in the topic is bad for the topic), as well as the terminal impacts to your claims about predictability and fairness and education, etc. I generally err towards interpretations that are the best for the literature base of a topic -- for substantive, deep debates at the core of the resolution -- rather than arbitrary lines which found their entire argument on generic disad link distinctions. Good topicality debates should be grounded in excellent evidence (T- subs. w/o material qualifications is a good example of a violation that does not fulfill this criteria).
DA – I love strategies that are either CP/DA or even DA/case. As a 1N/2A, I took the DA a lot in the 1NR and loved doing 2ARs against the DA. Generic DAs are okay, but I’m going to like you a lot more if you’re reading a tight case-specific DA that has good, specific links and internal links.
CP – don't be abusive or shady, otherwise I'll have sympathy for the aff on theory args.
Case – I LOVE case and I think it’s totally viable to win a debate with a simple strategy like case-DA. Case is what these sorts of debate SHOULD be about. Don’t let the 2A get away with the entirety of case and you have to defend on a CP to win! Make them defend the plan. I could even be persuaded to vote on presumption.
I'm down with Ks. I'm familiar with much of the K lit - but take time to explain the core thesis of the K in the neg block (or 2ac) and especially the link story. Contrived and jargon-filled tags that lack substance but just try to sound smart / catch the other team off guard is a huge pet peeve of mine. For the aff, definitely poke fun of the link, as well as the alt - if the K cannot explain an articulate non-generic formulation of these parts of the debate, it'll be hard for me to vote for the kritik. I'm fairly knowledgeable with regards to the K literature base, particularly Foucault, Nietzsche, Bataille, Marx, critical IR, but that means I hold kritiks to a high standard of explanation. If you are reading some variation on Lacan, for instance, you'd better understand exactly what kind of argument you're making. There are many points in fast debate rounds when I feel an impending sense of existential dread but one of the more egregious examples of such moments occurs when teams completely and utterly bastardize a brilliant philosopher with a kritik and have no idea what that author's argument actually is.
Also, please do not read framework at the same pace that you would read a card. Especially when you are talking about the role of the ballot, slow down a little.
I'm open to debates on identity politics. Again, I didn't debate when these types of arguments were gaining currency so I don't have as much familiarity but I'm open-minded about them. I do believe they force debaters to grapple with ideas that are ultimately good for the community to confront. The most important thing for FW debaters in these situations is to not just focus on the line-by-line. In these sorts of debates, the identity politics teams typically win through in-depth overviews that impact turn essentially everything on the line-by-line. You HAVE to respond to their top-level impact claims - it's hard to pull the trigger in this type of round on dropped argument on the line-by-line if you haven't been addressing the framing of the debate itself.
If you have more specific questions, please ask me before the round.
About Me: My name is Anthony Reynolds, I am a Junior at Bellarmine College Preparatory, I do both slow and fast Policy Debate at the Varsity level, and I also do Extemp at the Varsity level. Pronouns: He/Him.
If it is a fast debate I want to be on the email chain, if it is slow debate please also put me on the email chain.
This is what most people care about so I am starting with it. I am mostly a Policy only debater but I am completely open to Ks and K affs. I will not favor them, but I do not see them as dirty or bad forms of debate. Arguing that Topicality is bad is interesting and I like it. I respect K debaters and think they are equal to Policy only teams.
Fairness is not always a voting issue. You can argue that it is, and that it isn't. I do not have a strong opinion on it. Anything can be a voting issue for me, and it all depends on how you argue it. I go for framework often but that doesn't mean I am against K affs.
I think that theory debates are just like every other part of debate and are just as important. I am open to judging theory debates, but there are some theory arguments that I personally don't like, but that does not mean I will auto downvote them. These are:
- Disclosure theory: I just think disclosing isn't a rule or necessary.
- CP Theory: I think PICs are bad, but I will still vote for them. Even though I am against PICs I still see them as a legitimate argument.
Overall I think that there are no hard and fast rules in a debate, so anything can be said. This means I am open to a neg team reading 12 counterplans and if the aff loses on condo then they lose on condo. Similarly, if a neg team reads 1 counterplan and the aff wins on condo, they win the debate. Everything in the debate is about the arguments and theory is just another argument to me.
I will usually be neg leaning on Topicality, and it is all about articulating your argument. If you are running an aff that is obviously not Topical but you win the argument I will still vote for you. I still think that Topicality is another argument to be had and I can go either way.
Tech over Truth:
I think that if you win an argument, even if what you are saying is false, you still win the debate. Responding to arguments and having clash always comes first, and even if an argument is false you must respond to it. That being said, an argument being false makes it a lot harder to win simply because the other team can literally say "what they are saying is a lie and will have no impact because of it" and well if you are lying then yeah there isn't an impact at all.
You could run a counterplan that is in reference to a country that does not exist and if you definitively win the argument then you could still win the debate.
Framing vs Line-by-line:
Both are necessary to win a debate in my opinion. I can go both ways on which is more important. If an aff team loses a bunch of arguments on the flow but can prove to me through framing that they should still win because the aff impacts outweigh, then I might vote for them. I can also go the other way, and completely vote on line-by-line depending on the debate, but it is completely based on how either team articulates their arguments.
Please just be respectful to your opponents. Racism, homophobia, sexism, and any other kind of hate speech will not be tolerated.
I am open to most arguments if I think they are legitimate. However, I think something like using the wrong pronoun once in a speech is not a reason to reject the team, but you can still argue that it is and I might vote for you. Also, swearing during a debate is fine by me, as long as it is not blatantly offensive to the opponent or to another group of people.
Also, if you claim the opponent is forging evidence or is violating some form of real rule of evidence, make the argument in the debate, and if you convince me I will vote on it.
I am pretty loose with prep time. Flashing is not prep, sending files is not prep, if your computer crashes during a speech just pause and figure it out, and for the most part I will be pretty flexible. Stealing prep will obviously not be accepted and will affect your speaks, and possibly the ballot in extreme cases.
Most of that section was for fast debate.
This is a lot more simple so I will be brief.
Both framing and line by line are important in a debate. Just because I have fast debate experience does not mean I only value line by line and argumentation, slow debate framing is a huge part of the debate and it should be in your speeches.
A lot of convincing parent judges in slow debate involves being convincing and believable, so I will likely take this into account during the round. Of course the argumentation is the most important part of the debate, but if I think the round is a wash with both sides having equally good argumentation, I will likely go with the side that simply persuaded me more with their delivery or phrasing or something else that isn't purely a part of argumentation. Despite this, I wil value the argumentation higher.
How good did you speak. Did you speak well? Yes? What do you know now you have high speaks. Did you speak poorly? Aw man now you have lower speaks.