Cal Invitational at Berkeley HS Tournament

2016 — CA/US

Michael Aaron Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Harry Aaronson Paradigm

3 rounds

Indiana University '19

Put Harvard.debate@gmail on the email chain.


My general presumption for CP solvency is sufficiency, but I can be persuaded by well-articulated/evidenced aff arguments that in certain contexts, and offense/defense paradigm for evaluating solvency deficits is inappropriate.

I'll will *not* kick the CP for the negative unless explicitly told to do so and only when uncontested by the aff. In an equally debated situation, I will strongly err towards sticking the negative with the 2nr

If you have evidence that compares your CP to the plan, it's probably legitimate

Immediacy/Certainty/Any Process CP – Probably illegitimate

No solvency advocate – if its an intuitive advantage CP, particularly when based on the aff evidence, that seems reasonable

2NC CPs – Good


I like any critique that makes calls into question some core aspect of the aff. This can be their primary justifications, representations, mechanism, etc.

Good case debating is important. Solvency/internal link presses that aid your link arguments are extremely powerful.

Fiat is good and the aff should be weighed. But that doesn’t mean questions of epistemology or justifications are irrelevant. Weighing those links against the aff is both possible and desirable.


Limits only matter to the extent they are predictable. Quality evidence should dictate topicality. Community norms shouldn’t be relevant and are subject to group-think and path dependency. T is an important strategic weapon, particularly on large topics and you should go for it when necessary. I’d suggest slowing down in the 2NR/2AR and isolating the debate to a narrow set of relevant questions.


Conditionality is fine within reason. When it seems absurd it probably is, and its not impossible to persuade me to reject the team, but it is an uphill battle. Its hard to imagine voting aff unless there are 4 or more conditional advocacies introduced.

Framework/K affs

The aff should read a topical example of the resolution.

TVAs don’t have to include the affs precise method or the totality of the 1ac, but create access to the affs literature base

The aff needs a strong defense of why reading this particular aff is key (its methodology, theory, performance, etc), why reading this argument on the aff as opposed to the neg is key, and why debate in general is key

Fairness and skills impacts are fine. Topic education usually seems less relevant and less strategic

Debate is a competitive activity. Even though it isn’t just a game, strategy and competition dictate much of what we do in debate, and that matters

Jide Ajisafe Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated 5 years @ UMKC

             I’m not really sure what my "paradigm" is yet (at the college level) since 2015-2016 is my first year out. I'm really sorry if this makes prefs all the more difficult/annoying. So, if you email me with specific questions tailored to your strategy and its possible success, I will most assuredly email you back within the day.Overall/personally however, I think I enjoy substance & intellectual rigor more than anything––on both the policy and critical theory sides of things.

I debated both spectrums in college (from H1B, XO, & PTX to West African metaphysics & divinities). I try to flow and read as much as possible during the round.... If I’m lost, I'll probably just ask you what's troubling me/what I need.

Berkley notes:

I really enjoy when debaters really KNOW their stuff in relation to the other team's stuff. That’s the best way to get me on board really --having a command over the knowledge and the flow(s). This is a lost art... and so are advantage counterplans & actual case debate/engagement ...  

I think that the AFF should be a thing that is a relevantly (topically, globally, politically, pedagogically, etc.) different from the status quo. If it is not, then I am inclined to believe that your AFF is actually NEG ground... and that is awkward.

I think the NEG needs to win offense against the AFF, what the AFF stands for, or the textual artifact that is the 1AC.

I'm more concerned with debaters entering into meaningful conversation(s). I think that ya’ll will all be fine with me (wherever you are coming from), just be dope at what you do.  If you tell me to read something, I will.


Good luck!

Keep me on the email chain / flash please (

Zaki Alattar Paradigm

Debated at UC Berkeley for 1 year.
Debated at Katy Taylor for 4 years.

Coached for College Preparatory, BAUDL, and NYUDL.

My opinion on this is not fully formed. I'm inclined as a 2A to believe that these debates are shallow and detract from substance, but recently, I've felt its necessity as a strategic option for the negative. It's also very easy for me to get lost in these debates. So here's my fair warning, going for T may have unpredictable consequences both in and against your favor.

Framework vs. Kritikal Affirmatives
I tend to lean affirmative on these debates. However, particularly on this topic, I think that holding the affirmative to a plan text is not unreasonable, but I also believe that if your only responses to an affirmative would be the politics disad and an agent counterplan, then you are doing it wrong.


Julia Alison Paradigm

Polytechnic School 2010-2014

Stanford University 2014-2018



Overview: I'm happy to listen to whatever you want to read (barring arguments that are actually morally repugnant). Do debate however you want to do it, and do it well. I'm fine with speed, just make sure to slow down on plan texts and dense T/theory shells. Tech over truth in most instances. 

General Stuff: Tag team CX is fine. Prep ends when the flashdrive is out of your computer/the email is sent. I'd like to be included on email chains when possible. I'm sympathetic to most tech issues, but please don't abuse this system. I'll be timing the debate, but it's always good to time yourselves/your oponents as a backup. If the content of a particular card becomes controversial during the round, I'll probably read it after the round. That being said, good evidence spin/explanation and application during the round can go a long way. Evidence quality is super important, and one good card with extremely clear warrants that are well-defended can usually beat a lot of mediocre cards. If you want to record the debate, ask the other team before recording their speeches. 

If you have any questions, feel free to ask before the debate. 

Cheating: Don't do it. If you notice the other team clipping cards, take an audio recording from the point that you've noticed it so that I can compare what's being read to what's in the document. Cheating accusations will stop the debate, so make sure you are absolutely certain before making such a claim. Marking cards is fine, just make it clear where in the card you've stopped, and offer to give the other team a copy of your speech document with marks. In most cases, cheating will result in a loss and 0 speaker points for both speakers. I will resolve these issues based on the tournament's policy. 

Topic: I haven't judged many rounds on the surveillance topic, so make sure you're clear with jargon/abbreviations. 

DAs: The more aff-specific the better, but I'm happy to hear a generic done well. "Zero risk" arguments exist. Smart turns case arguments can win most case v. DA rounds. Impact defense is a solid idea for both teams. If the impact scenario is so obscure that you have no defense for it, it can probably be defeated by smart analytics. 

CPs: Theory-wise, most CPs with aff-specific solvency advocates are probably fair game. Well researched and aff-specific PICs and agent CPs are great. Well run generics are fine, but I can definitely be persuaded by Aff theory arguments on consult/conditions CPs. If you're reading a word PIC, be sure to defend why textual competition alone is sufficient. 

Ks: I read a lot of Ks in high school, and I'm mostly focused on the K in college, so I really like watching a good K debate. That being said, please don't change your strategy to appeal to what you think I want to hear. I'd be much happier with a good politics round than an uncomfortable K round. I won't kick the alternative unless you tell me to. I don't necessarily think Ks need an alt, but you ought to justify why yours doesn't before you wish away the perm. When deciding these debates, I start with evaluating the frameworks both teams have advanced, and I'll adjudacate the rest of the debate under that framework. 

T: As I said above, make sure to slow down if you want me to get all of your standards down. I default to competing interpretations if nobody makes a reasonability argument, but I can be persuaded by both. Topical version of the aff arguments can win these debates, so affs should take care not to drop them. I evaluate interpretations and standards like a CP/DA debate, so impact calculus about what voting for either interpretation of the topic means in the context of this/later deabtes is important to me.

Framework v. Non-traditional Affs: I think Affs ought to be connected to the topic in some way, but I'm not convinced that they need to advocate instrumental action by the USFG. Both of these preferences are up for debate, and I'll vote for the team I feel has made better arguments on framework. Advocacy statements and role of the ballot claims can be good in a lot of instances, but they definitely aren't necessary for my ballot. Spend your speech time how you want to, and just make sure to explain at some point what I'm voting for if I vote for you. 


Mike Anda Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Carlos Astacio Paradigm

3 rounds

I competed in LD at University High School in Newark New Jersey, I was nationally competitive for three years.. I also compete in policy debate for Rutgers University.

Presumption: I think it highly unfair for me to presume to any side when debaters have NO control over which side they are going to be debating. So I don't have any bias toward Aff or Neg.

Speed: I don't generally have an issue with speed, however I do have a problem with monotone speed, unclear speed. I will yell clear if I can't understand you, but it will only be maybe once or twice, if you don't become clear by then, my ability to properly evaluate the arguments may possibly become impaired. Also, your speaks probably won't be awesome if I have to keep yelling clear.

-I would like you to significantly slow down when reading tags/card names so I can have a properly structured flow, but while reading the card you are welcome to go at top CLEAR speed(a few caveats to be explained later)

-When making analytical arguments, please be clear, because it's difficult for me to follow analytics when they are weirdly phrased and also being spread.

-I don't like speed for the sake of being fast, I prefer when speed is used as a catalyst for an awesome case or a multilayered rebuttal with really nuanced responses on case.

Evidence: Despite what happened in the round, I may call for the cites for cards read in round, I'll specify which specific cites I would like to see. I do this for two reasons: to ensure that there was no miscutting of evidence, and because I believe in disclosure and am from the school of thought that everybody in the round should have access to all evidence read in the round. I don't appreciate a denial to share citations, if citations are not readily available, I may choose to disregard all evidence with missing citations(especially evidence which was contested in the debate).

Cross Examination: I don't know how much I can stress it...CROSS EX IS BINDING! I don't care if you present arguments for why it shouldn't be binding or why lying in CX is ok, or any arguments with the implication which allows dishonesty in CX, there is NO theory to be ran to change my mind. Nevertheless, I don't flow CX, so its up to the debaters to refresh my memory of any inconsistencies between speeches and CX answers. On the other hand, CX can be the BEST or the WORST part of a debate, depending on how it plays out. A funny yet not disrespectful CX will score big when I'm deciding on how to assign speaks, while a rude and boring CX will negatively influence how I assign speaks. Clarification questions during prep is fine, but I'm not cool with trying to tear down an argument during prep, if it was that important, it should have been in the formal CX, rather than during prep. Don't be afraid to refuse to answer a non-clarification question during your opponents prep time.

Critical/Weird Arguments: I love well explained critical positions. With the caveat that these critical arguments are logically explained and aren't insanely convoluted. I have no issue voting for the argument. But if I can't understand it, I won't vote on it. Also, I am a fan of interesting debate, so if you have a neat performance to run in front of me, I would love to hear it!

Theory: I don't presume to competing interpretations or reasonability. The justification for either one needs to be made in round. I don't like greedy theory debates, which means that I generally view theory as a reason to reject the argument rather than the debater. YES, this means you must provide reasons in or after the implications section of your shell, for why this specific violation is a reason for me to use my ballot against the other debater. I'm not persuaded by generic 12 point blocks for why fairness isn't a voter, I prefer nuanced argumentation for why fairness may not be a voter. RVIs have to be justified but I'm willing to vote on them if the situation presents itself, but its up to you to prove why you defensively beating theory is enough for me to vote for you.

Prestandard: I don't like having preconceived beliefs before judging a round, but this is just one of those things that I need to reinforce. I WILL NOT vote on multiple apriori blips, and winning a single apriori is an uphill battle, a serious commitment to advocacy is necessary(you devote a serious amount of time to the apriori position.)

Speaks: I average about a 27, I doubt I'll go lower than 25(unless you do something which merits lower than a 25) because I personally know how disappointing the 4-2/5-2 screw can be, nevertheless I am more than willing to go up or down, depending on the performance in that particular round. The reason I average around a 27 is not because I generally don't give nice speaks, its because the majority of tournaments, I'll judge only a few rounds that deserve more than a 28. It's not difficult at all to get good speaks from me. I reserve 30's for debaters who successfully execute the following: speak really well, good word economy, good coverage/time allocation, takes risks when it comes to strategy, weighs really well, provides AWESOME evidence comparison, and adapts well to the things happening in the round. I really enjoy seeing new strategies, or risky strategies, I.E. I am a fan of the straight refutation 1N, attempting something risky like this and pulling it off, gives you a higher chance of getting a 30. Another way to get high speaks is to be a smart debater as well as funny without being mean or making any kind of jokes at the expense of your opponent(this will lose you speaks)

Delivery: I need evidence comparison! It makes me really happy when debaters do great evidence comparison. Also, I would appreciate for you to give status updates as the rebuttals progress, as well as giving me implications for each extension. When extending arguments which rely on cards, in order for it to be a fully structured extension it must contain: The claim/tag of the card, author/card name, warrant from the card, and the implications of that extension (what does it do for you in the round).

Miscellaneous: You are more than welcome to sit or stand, I don't mind people reading from laptops or being paperless as long as it doesn't delay the round. Also, I don't care if you are formally dressed, jeans and a tshirt will get you the same speaks that a shirt and a tie will. :) I also believe its impossible for me to divorce my judging from my beliefs, but I'll do my best to attempt to fairly adjudicate the debate.

P.S. I don't like performative contradictions...(just felt like I should throw that out there)

Kevin Attiyeh Paradigm

3 rounds

cps 2014 (3 years of debate)
cal 2018 (not debating)

cal updates

most important. the lack of line by line debating is getting to me. I'm not going to reconstruct the debate after its over so if you don't go line by line chances are you will lose. there are two teams that I keep watching and one always win. there's the team with the huge overview and theres the team that cleans up the debate. I bet you can guess who wins.

If you are decisively winning. We have all been there, please don't use up all my time. I like when the debate ends earlier. You will get higher speaks. If the neg drops conditionality in the block, perhaps the 1ar should be one minute of conditionality and sit down.

Other note. I despise it when teams waste time during the debate. Prep does not stop until your email is sent. I really don't like waiting for emails to be sent. if you have a tech problem then we can make some accommodations, but I am in the clock is always moving boat. I will not actively enforce this rule, but I will take note of it and it will affect your speaks. If you are one of those teams that are super organized and doesn't steal prep I will like you and want to vote for you that much more.

update 2017-2018
its been awhile since I've judged. almost two years at this point and I don't miss it very much.

things to know about me
- you are better than me at debate.

- I don't know the topic like at all. as of today (December 13, 2017) I don't know the topic of any form of debate. I will know it before I enter your round
- please assume I know nothing about your argument. with some judges there is inside context, with me there is none. so please no acronyms, no jargon, no screaming
- I am uncomfortable with speed. when I was a debater speed was really difficult for me. when I say speed I really mean lack of clarity but those two usually go pretty hand and hand. if I can't flow you or write what you say down you will not win. please be clear especially with quick arguments.
-its important to me that the debate remains interesting. this means it is educational and not just a place where two teams speed through a bunch of blocks
- MOST Important: write my ballot. control the framing of the debate. if you do this you will probably win. the team that wins the big picture usually wins for me. this doesn't mean avoid being technical, this just means I want you to put together some narrative.
- I am uncomfortable with hostility. please be funny but don't be mean. greet each other with smiles and hugs and respect. I hate meanness especially when it sounds condescending


- I am probably a lot more comfortable with the critical theory than I am with policy argumentation that this point. I was never good enough at debate to develop what I considered to be my strength of argumentation, but I definitely kept up with criticisms after college for than I did with whatever policy thing you are talking about.
- I am comfortable with performance.
- I am okay with fw, I regretfully went for it. I don't like it but I understand its utility.
- to get good speaks use warranted evidence with strong explanations. deep and detailed, I am a sucker for that
- think of me as a parent judge that understands tech

Mike Bausch Paradigm

6 rounds

Mike Bausch

Director of Debate, Kent Denver

Please include me in email chains; my email is

Do what you do best and I will try to leave my predispositions at the door. I have voted for and against every kind of argument. How you debate matters more than what you debate.

I care most about your ability to successfully communicate and defend your arguments by flowing, doing line-by-line, speaking clearly, and thoroughly explaining your arguments throughout the debate. I do not follow along with the speech document and will tell you clear if I can’t understand you. The best tip I can give you is to go for less arguments as the debate develops and explain those arguments more.

Argument resolution is the most important part of debating. Making choices, explaining what issues are most important, identifying what to do with drops, answering “so what” questions, making “even if” statements, and comparing arguments (links, impacts, solvency, etc) are all examples of the kinds of judge instruction that winning rebuttals should focus on.

I value the research skills that debate fosters. I think a lot of teams get away with reading poor evidence. Please make evidence comparison (data, warrants, source, or recency) a significant part of the debate. Evidence that is highlighted in complete and coherent sentences is much more persuasive than evidence that is not.

The affirmative should present an advocacy that is grounded in topic related policy and critical literature. The negative should clash with the affirmative. I am more persuaded by strategies that compete with ideas or positions the affirmative has actually committed to. I think many generic negative strategies, like process counterplans and “fiat not real” style critiques, are not automatically competitive.

Eric Beane Paradigm

6 rounds

Name: Eric Beane

Affiliation: Langham Creek High School

*Current for the 2020-21 Season*

Policy Debate Paradigm

I debated for the University of Houston from 2012-2016. I've coached at Katy-Taylor HS from 2011 - 2016 and now I am the Director of Debate at Langham Creek High School. I mostly went for the K. I judge a lot of clash of the civs & strange debates. Have fun

Specific Arguments

Critical Affirmatives – I think your aff should be related to the topic; we have one for a reason and I think there is value in doing research and debating on the terms that were set by the topic committee. Your aff doesn’t need to fiat the passage of a plan or have a text, but it must generally affirm the resolution. I think having a text that you will defend helps you out plenty. Framework is definitely a viable strategy in front of me.

Disadvantages – DA + CP or case in the 2NR is not what I went for or coached primarily in my years of competition. Specific turns case analysis that is contextualized to the affirmative (not blanket, heg solves for war, vote neg analysis) will always be rewarded with high speaker points. Comparative analysis between time frame, magnitude and probability makes my decisions all the easier. I love to judge a good debate regardless of the argument.

Counterplans – I think that PICs can be an interesting avenue for debate, especially if they have a nuanced or critical net benefit. PICs bad etc. are not reasons to reject the team but just to reject the argument. I also generally err neg on these questions, but it isn’t impossible to win that argument in front of me. Condo debates are fair game – you’ll need to invest a substantial portion of the 1AR and 2AR on this question though.

Kritiks - I enjoy a good K debate. When I competed in college I mostly debated critical disability studies and its intersections. I've also read variations of Nietzsche, Psychoanalysis and Marxism throughout my debate career.

"Method Debate" - Many debates are unnecessarily complicated because of this phrase. If you are reading an argument that necessitates a change in how a permutation works (or doesn't), then naturally you should set up and explain a new model of competition. Likewise, the affirmative ought to defend their model of competition.

Vagueness - Strangely enough, we begin the debate with two very different positions, but as the debate goes on the explanation of these positions change, and it all becomes oddly amorphous - whether it be the aff or neg. I feel like "Vagueness" arguments can be tactfully deployed and make a lot of sense in those debates (in the absence of it).

We all need to be able to understand what the alternative is, what it does in relation to the affirmative and how does it resolve the link+impact you have read. I have no shame in not voting for something that I can't explain back to you.

Case Debate – I think that even when reading a 1-off K strategy, case debate can and should be perused. I think this is probably the most undervalued aspect of debate. I can be persuaded to vote on 0% risk of the aff or specific advantages. Likewise, I can be convinced there is 0 risk of a DA being triggered.

Topicality - I'm down to listen to a good T debate. Having a topical version of the aff with an explanation behind it goes a long way in painting the broader picture of debate that you want to create with your interpretation. Likewise being able to produce a reasonable case list is also a great addition to your strategy that I value.

"Strange" Arguments / Backfile Checks - I love it when debate becomes fun. Sometimes we need a break from the monotony of nuclear armageddon. The so-called classics like wipeout, the pic, etc. I think are a viable strategy. I've read guerrilla communication arguments in the past and think it provides some intrigue in policy debate.

Other Information

Accessibility - My goal as an educator and judge is to provide the largest and most accessible space of deliberation possible. If there are any access issues that I can assist with, please let me know (privately or in public - whatever you are comfortable with). I struggle with anxiety and understand if you need to take a "time out" or breather before or after a big speech.

Evidence - When you mark cards I usually also write down where they are marked on my flow –also, before CX starts, you need to show your opponents where you marked the cards you read. If you are starting an email chain - prep ends as soon as you open your email to send the document. I would like to be on your email chain too -

High Speaks? - The best way to get high speaks in front of me is in-depth comparative analysis. Whether this be on a theory debate or a disad/case debate, in depth comparative analysis between author qualification, warrants and impact comparison will always be rewarded with higher speaker points. The more you contextualize your arguments, the better. If you are negative, don't take prep for the 1NR unless you're cleaning up a 2NC disaster. I'm impressed with stand-up 1ARs, but don't rock the boat if you can't swim. If you have read this far in my ramblings on debate then good on you - If you say "wowzas" in the debate I will reward you with +.1 speaker points.

Any other questions, please ask in person or email –

Lane Bearden Paradigm

6 rounds

Short-pre-round version: Former Director of Debate and Policy/CX debate coach at Calhoun High School (Georgia). Former NDT debater, college assistant coach. After my re-entry into the activity in 2002, I worked to learn the K, and my paradigm is still evolving. So far, I have been willing to listen to anything. I tend to reward debaters with clash and explanation, and teams that are clever and willing to take risks. I am taking another break from debate starting Fall 2019 and will not be as familiar with the topic or trendy arguments, so please slow down and explain.

Longer, working on prefs, version: Lived the debate life in high school (Southern California) and then college (Univ of Redlands). Started at the bottom but thanks to a great college coach (Southworth), some outstanding partners, and a supportive community, I had some success as a senior (won Kentucky RR, Wake, a few others, and a top 5 bid to NDT). Taught summers at Golden West, Wake, Georgetown, and Emory workshops. I researched for several debate handbooks (something we used to do), and assisted at high schools including Calhoun, Damien, GBN and Holt HS (Alabama). After leaving U of R in 1980, I assistant coached some outstanding high school teams, Samford University, and Calhoun. Co-authored the debate theory article with my friend Dr. Walter Ulrich, "Bad Theory as a Voting Issue" in 1982. Went to law school at Bama after that, and put debate away completely until my children were of age to start debating in Georgia's middle school league in 2002. That led to coaching the high school team, and since 2005 I have been the director of debate at Calhoun (small public school in rural Georgia with great debate and speech history - about an hour north of Atlanta). Was fortunate to bring in Ed Williams to head coach for a couple of years, and have also had some outstanding assistants (Jadon Marianetti, Jim Schultz, Kristen Lowe, Natalie Bennie, Judy Butler, and '16-17 Lenny Brahin, also sister Lynn [former NDT debater for Louisville, also now an attorney].)

Clarity: I may throw in the occasional warning of "clear" to debaters, but after two or three "clears", I will put down my pen and look annoyed until I can comprehend the argument. If you think from visual clues that I am not getting the argument, I probably am not.

I coached for many years on the national and regional (Georgia) circuit. I have a team of very dedicated and intense policy debaters. I have historically written a lot of our arguments, but the team and assistants are doing most all of that this year. Just point this out so you understand that just because my team runs an argument doesn't mean that I like it, or that I completely understand it. Coaching is a purely volunteer position, and my two part-time/full-time jobs are as the Judge of the Gordon County Juvenile (child abuse and neglect, deliquency cases) and as a private attorney representing plainitiffs in personal injury and victim's rights cases. I am usually accompanied at tournaments by my spouse, Carol, who is sort of team Mom, travel agent and organizer of all things.

Likes/dislikes: I judge debate because I love debate and the community and the education it provides. I try to be extremely objective, and believe I have the reputation of voting for teams because I think they won, never because of rep or outside (or inside the round) influences. In fact, I tend to react badly if I believe a team or coach is trying to exert undue influence. Post-round I will give my critique, and will answer respectful and honest questions from the debaters. I expect a team I drop (and their coaches) to be unhappy, but no matter what, please be nice to your opponents, your partner, your coaches, and your judge.

My email:

Ian Beier Paradigm

4 rounds

I think debate is a game with educational benefits. I will listen to anything, but there are obviously some arguments that are more persuasive than others. i think this is most of what you're looking for:

1. arguments - For me to vote on an argument it must have a claim, warrant, and impact. A claim is an assertion of truth or opinion. A warrant is an analytical connection between data/grounds/evidence and your claim. An impact is the implication of that claim for how I should evaluate the debate. debate is competitive and adversarial, not cooperative. My bias is that debate strategies should be evidence-centric and, at a minimum, rooted in an academic discipline. My bias is that I do not want to consider anything prior to the reading of the 1AC when making my decision.

3. framework - arguments need to be impacted out beyond the word 'fairness' or 'education'. affirmatives do not need to read a plan to win in front of me. however, there should be some connection to the topic. fairness is a terminal impact.

4. critiques - they should have links to the plan or have a coherent story in the context of the advantages. i am less inclined to vote neg for broad criticisms that arent contextualized to the affirmative. a link of omission is not a link. similarly, affirmatives lose debates a lot just because their 2ac is similarly generic and they have no defense of the actual assumptions of the affirmative.

5. counterplans - should likely have solvency advocates but its not a dealbreaker. slow down when explaining tricks in the 2nc.

6. theory - more teams should go for theory more often. negatives should be able to do whatever they want, but affirmatives need to be able to go for theory to keep them honest.

7. topicality - its an evidentiary issue that many people impact poorly. limits, not ground, is the controlling internal link for most T-related impacts. saying 'we lose the [insert argument]' isnt really an impact without an explanation of why that argument is good. good debates make comparative claims between aff/neg opportunities to win relative to fairness.

8. clipping - i sometimes read along with speeches if i think that you are clipping. i will prompt you if i think you are clipping and if i think you are still clipping i will vote against you even if the other team doesnt issue an ethics challenge.

9. 2nr/2ar - there are lots of moving parts in debate. if you disagree with how i approach debate or think about debate differently, you should start your speech with judge instruction that provides an order of operations or helps construct that ballot. teams too often speak in absolute certainties and then forward.

unapologetically stolen from brendan bankey's judge philosophy as an addendum because there is no reason to rewrite it:

---"Perm do the counterplan" and "perm do the alt" are claims that are often unaccompanied by warrants. I will not vote for these statements unless the aff explains why they are theoretically legitimate BEFORE the 2AR. I am most likely to vote for these arguments when the aff has 1) a clear model of counterplan/alternative competition AND 2) an explanation for where the

I would prefer that debaters engage arguments instead of finesse their way out of links. This is especially awful when it takes place in clash debates. If you assert your opponent's offense does not apply when it does I will lower your speaker points.

In that vein, it is my bias that if an affirmative team chooses not to say "USFG Should" in the 1AC that they are doing it for competitive reasons. It is, definitionally, self-serving. Self-serving does not mean the aff should lose [or that its bad necessarily], just that they should be more realistic about the function of their 1AC in a competitive activity. If the aff does not say "USFG Should" they are deliberately shifting the point of stasis to other issues that they believe should take priority. It is reciprocal, therefore, for the negative to use any portion of the 1AC as it's jumping off point.

I think that limits, not ground, is the controlling internal link for most T-related impacts. Ground is an expression of the division of affirmative and negative strategies on any given topic. It is rarely an independent impact to T. I hate cross-examination questions about ground. I do not fault teams for being unhelpful to opponents that pose questions in cross-examination using the language of ground. People commonly ask questions about ground to demonstrate to the judge that the aff has not really thought out how their approach to the resolution fosters developed debates. A better, more precise question to ask would be: "What are the win conditions for the negative within your model of competition?"

old judge philosophy wiki that i will leave as a historical artifact:

Me – I debated for both Cate Palczweski and Jacob Thompson. I was the ADoD at UNLV from 2010-2013. I was at Damien High School from 2013-2015. I was at KU from 2015-2018. I am now at College Prep.

Cross-ex is rarely damning on any question. Stop saying that. if the person you are speaking over in cross-ex is your own partner who is also trying to answer the question, you may have a problem. a hilarious problem.

for the love of god can we stop having these moments in cross ex where we say "obviously debate doesnt leave this room when we say the government should do something" in a condescending tone. you sound ridiculous. no one thinks that. literally no one. this is like... the royalty of a straw-person argument.

I like solvency advocates that say what your plan says, impact comparisons, people that are having fun, and milkshakes. I flow. I vote on dropped arguments that I dont believe.

I increasingly find myself protecting negative teams because the 2AR explanation seems too new. So for all of you shady 2ARs out there, you need to hide your newness better. Or, you know, communicate with your partner so that they can help set up your argument(s).

Debate is a world of enthymemes where there is a lot of presumption on the part of community in relation to the meaning of the text that you choose to speak. It would be a mistake to not fully explain an argument because you think I "get it." Sometimes that may be the case, but that is by no means a universal truth. Play your game, but make sure I understand what game we are playing at the conclusion of the debate. E.g. If you thought an evidence comparison should have gone differently than my RFD, it is probably your fault. Debate is a communicative activity, so identifying how I should evaluate your evidence / their evidence is... important.

I think debate is a game. This probably makes me evaluate debate differently. I will listen to anything I guess. If you think an argument is stupid, I would assume that you can easily defeat said argument. These are my thoughts, but keep in mind I will not just insert these things into the debate. That is your job. I have front loaded the philosophy with the things that you are most likely here to read. Without further ado:

Clipping - in many respects I think that prompts for clarity are interventionist. However, clipping is rampant, particularly during the 1AC. if I think that you are clipping, I will say clear. If it becomes a problem, I will prompt you with something to the effect of "read all of the highlighting." If I think that you are still clipping after this prompt, I will vote against you.

Buzzwords – stop it. If you cannot explain the argument, then that dog wont hunt. Also, I would really appreciate it if people would stop saying 'sure' prior to answering questions.

Critiques – An Aff will probably lose if they read generic answers and: don’t apply them to the criticism and don’t apply them to the affirmative. The more topic specific the K the better. The negative needs to win either that you 1) solve the aff 2) outweigh the aff [in those weird method v method debates] 3) have a framework or theory that makes the aff irrelevant. I dig the impact turn (imperialism good, Fox News) but also understand that these are probably more links to the critique. I find that lots of high end theory does not make sense when it is reduced to a blurb in the debate. method v method might be a top 5 worse argument in debate next to aspec.

"non-plan affs" – That word probably bastardizes your argument but I don't have a great alternate label that people can find in a quick search through judge philosophies. These are my predispositions. If you can address them, I'm all yours (but even if you don't, you should not worry. It seems to impact the debate less and less because you are answering generic blocks with specific arguments about your method.):
First, "role of the ballot" is over-used and rarely explained as a concept. Please do not assume that you will win just because you said it. Second, my understanding of the "policy debate good" literature means if I don't understand by your last speech, I will vote on a coherent framework argument. This is becoming less and less true because people are so afraid to say limits that they just say "you killed my decision-making" and decide thats sufficient for an impact. Third, these types of arguments typically mean the other team is forced to defend the community practices and not their own. At times I think this is a straw person argument, but I have become increasingly aware that this is not as artificial as I used to think. Fourth, teams tend to hilariously mishandle form arguments and generally lack a coherent strategy on the neg when answering these affs. Most of the time, every argument is a different way to say "you gotta have a plan." Even if the arguments sound distinct in the 1NC, they usually aren't by the 2NR. Rather than focusing on what you have prewritten, you should exploit these problems in the neg strategy. I end up voting for critical teams quite a bit because of this strategic problem even though i firmly believe in the pedagogical value of affirmatives being germane to the resolution.

Framework - "a discussion of the topic rather than a topical discussion" is not a good counter-interpretation. the limits disad is real.

Topicality – T is not genocidal unless the argument is dropped. I evaluate it like a disad so you should impact out arguments beyond words like "fairness" or "education". topicality is an evidentiary issue

Theory – You should go for theory because teams dont know how to answer it. The more counterplans there are, the more sympathetic I become to theory. that being said, its hard to be negative and the neg can do whatever they want. My threshold for theory other than conditionality is somewhat high as a reason to reject the team.

Disads - do people even read judge philosophies for this anymore? Don't bury me in cards. You may not like the outcome. Explanation of 1 really good card is better than 5 bad cards. The politics disad is a thing and so are other disads. i cut a lot of politics updates.

Counterplans - should have solvency advocates and should exploit generic link chains in aff advantages. The idea that a counterplan needs a card specific to the aff is not a deal breaker. Affs should probably read CP texts... they often times fiat out of your solvency deficits. what happened to 2nc counterplans?

Case Debate - These should be a thing. Ideally, there should be more than just generic impact defense. Otherwise, you will probably lose to specificity. People should impact turn.... everything.

David Bessey Paradigm

6 rounds

Experience. Policy debater at Copper Hills High School for 3 years under Scott Odekirk  


One year of experience debating at Weber State University  


Although I haven’t judged any tournaments this year, I am pretty up to date on the topic lit  



I think debate is an activity that should teach participators, and critics alike how to be better advocates in the world. I, of course have my idea of what "better" means, and what "advocate" means, but if I'm judging, I'm going to vote for the team who better advocates what they are proposing (whether it's state action, or a wild K). I consider myself a K debater, but that doesn't mean I won't vote for a topical plan, or the good old Counterplan/disad. As long as you defend your position well enough, anything goes.






General Arguments:

Go for what you want, what matters more is how you develop the argument, and explain it. If you want me to evaluate certain arguments over others, let me know what's up in round.


T: T debates are fine, I don’t think my threshold on T is high in either direction. That being said, I’m less willing to pull the trigger on T when teams don’t impact T beyond buzzwords. I’m not saying you can’t label standards with those words, I just think you should probably explain why things like education or fairness are important to debate.


FW: I love framework, and honestly I notice myself swaying a little more towards the negative in a K aff v. fw debate, but all the  Aff has got to do is do good job at telling me why fw is bad. Impact turn the ish.


Theory: Theory args are acceptable, if you can articulate a scenario for abuse. I’ll probably default most theory args might not be reasons to reject the team, but that all depends on how you frame that argument. I'm definitely a critic that you can go for theory in front of.


Counterplans: Counterplans are fun, make sure they’re competitive, make sure there’s a net benefit. Shadier counterplans like word PICs aren’t my favorite arguments, but I’ll vote on them if you articulate a net benefit.


Disadvantages: CP/DA debates might be my favorite negative arguments in debate, make sure your disads are either net benefits to the CP or are packaged with some case turns/impact defense, otherwise the aff will probably beat you in a body count debate.


THE KRITIK: K’s are fine, just be willing to put in the work necessary to explain the argument. I know all of the greatest hits, (Marx, Security, Baudrillard etc). but there are things I might not understand without some explanation. You don't need an alternative to win on a Kritik if you can phrase it as an effective enough case turn, that being said, having an alternative makes it much easier to resolve those debates if your alternative can resolve the impacts of the case.


Case: Case debates are underrated, but do what you have to do for your negative strategies. Read impact defense. Case debates make being a critic that much more fun.


Impacts: Comparative impact calc is something that makes resolving debates much easier for me. Questions of magnitude, timeframe, and probability are important and you should talk about those, but take it to the next level and talk about how your impacts interact with each other.





Speed is fine, clarity is better.


Don’t hide behind your laptop for the whole round.


Don’t prep steal.


Don’t be a jerk to other debaters, don’t be a jerk to your partner.


Maybe try and have a little fun, who knows.



Speaker Points:


I don't think a speech deserving of a 30 exists. I'll probably stay within 27-29 speaker points. If you're a meanie I'll probably dock your speaks. Yeah, I said meanie. 





Email for questions:

Philip Birginheir Paradigm

6 rounds

Policymaker circa early 2000's. I like to vote for the team with the more competitive policy option. 

I don't vote on high theory and I dislike K affs and framework debates.

Condo is fine, as long as you don't go for 2 conditional advocacies in the rebuttals. 

Fiat is our friend. 

John Block Paradigm

6 rounds

John Block

LRCH ’09

Missouri state State ‘12

Last Updated: September 2020


I am currently completing my final year of medical school so I have been out of the judging game to some extent so be aware that acronyms/the latest K lit I may not be up to date with. That being said I assist LRCH and judge practice debates/listen to practices. I believe that my job is to be a reactionary presence in the room. I do have my own opinions which I’ll get to in a bit but I should be receptive to basically anything you are doing. Being nice goes a long way. Make my job easy. If you can write my ballot for me in the 2NR/2AR I would be happy for you to do so. Even if statements are phenomenal, no one will win 100% of the arguments, recognize and embrace that.

Digital debate will be an adjustment to all. I have watched some debates but they were conducted over Zoom so I will be new to this software interface so please be patient if and when glitches arise.

You don’t need evidence for an argument, although it helps.

Specifics: T/Framework-I am not exclusively a policymaker. I’m just a person evaluating a discussion of ideas. That being said I went for Framework quite regularly in college and have voted on it multiple times. Be interactive with the other side, don’t just read blocks at each other. TVA’s are important and so are aff visions of the topic that are navigable to the negative team.

Theory: bad theory arguments are just that, bad. If you want to go for theory great but I am pretty easily swayed by reject the argument not the team. If you want to read consult/conditions style arguments I can get on board pretty easily. If you want to read multiple CPs without solvency advocates to simply skew the 2AC’s time I’m less on your side.

Case Debates-crucial to a good round. You can make my threshold to vote negative significantly lower if you have good case args, these don’t have to be supported by evidence but again it helps. Ev analysis has gotten somewhat lost in my opinion over the years. Read the text/read who this person is, discuss why one piece of evidence should be prioritized (does it assume the other team’s ev? Is it newer? Is it better analysis etc?)

DA’s-PTX is fun, elections is an exciting time to be reading it. Otherwise topic DA’s are great too. Don’t forget to have specific links to the aff and a good internal link. Similarly, don’t forget to identify flaws in the internal link chain or why your aff is different than what the link evidence assumes/why it would be perceived differently.

CP’s: having a solvency advocate is good but not necessary. I read a lot of hyperspecific CP’s in my day but also think a lot of it can become esoteric. If you have a great counterplan to read go for it, if you have a generic CP, go for it. Delay is questionable from a theory level but I’ll certainly listen to it.

K’s-Guide me through the K and what it means for the hypothetical world of the aff vs the hypothetical world of the alternative. Explain what specifically the aff does, specifically what the 1AC said or the assumptions that went into it. I may not be hip to the latest high theory K’s but I hear of some of them by proximity to debate even if I haven’t sat in the back of rounds in recent times.

K Affs: Most of what I wrote in the K area applies here. I think I am slightly K leaning as far as my threshold for voting on T or F/W so keep that in mind. What is the ballot and why does it matter for whatever the aff is. I am a bigger fan of embracing the K side of the aff and not as crazy about “soft-left” affs as I have been in the past.

CX-don’t just use it for prep. A good CX can end a debate round early on. This may be difficult with virtual debate and people just trying to talk over each other.

Cheating: If I suspect it I will report it. I will often read along and will likely do this even more because hearing specifics of spreading may be more difficult virtually.

Nikhil Bontha Paradigm

3 rounds

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Andrew Botwin Paradigm

6 rounds

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Autumn Boylan Valerio Paradigm

1 rounds

I assist with coaching at CK McClatchy. I debated in college at SFSU. I have coached at both the collegiate and high school levels for many years. I had my turn, now it is your turn. You should get to have the debate that you want, so you can run whatever args you want to run.

That being said, I do enjoy arguments that challenge the participants to examine the debate through a critical lens. But explain your high theory arguments and clearly articulate the applicability to the topic, the round, the other team, and/or to me as a human person. 

I am more inclined to buy an alternative that has some practical call to action rather than conceptual alts. I will vote for a conceptual alt if you tell me why, but I prefer something concrete. 

I am also good with straight up policy debates with good old fashioned nuclear disads And counterplans. Or topicality and theory arguments if the aff doesn't choose to affirm the resolution. Tell me what the impact is and why that means you should win my ballot.

Don't expect me to vote for you, persuade me to...with critical thinking and strategy. Be smart and make good (read: well reasoned) arguments.

Like I said, it is your debate. If you have specific questions, ask me.


Kelli Brill Paradigm

4 rounds

Philosophy as of 11/17/15

Background: Aka Kelly Brill. I have been "retired" for 2 years now. I started in LD, spent 3 years in policy and have spent 3 years in nationally competitive parli debate (it’s like policy, without cards). I have been coaching at Sage Ridge for 2 years now, and I assistant coach for the University of Nevada. I don't feel the need to detail my debate career.

I will listen to basically anything. After 8 years of debate, I am not sure anything would surprise me. However, I do have some preferences.

Speed: I need clear taglines and I need to be able to tell when you are reading a new card. You can use numbers or letters but just saying “AND” usually doesn’t make me realize you’re moving on.

T/Procedurals: It’s a useful tool to protect negative ground and if mishandled, deadly but if it is handled properly, do us all a favor and move on. I have warmed up to full-theory debate substantially. I do not mind theory in the way of counterplans because it can be important when it comes to perms and whatnot. I do mind spec arguments; they are not fun.

Disads: I love a nice, specific, probable disad. You can run politics, but absent persuasive evidence you might have a problem.

CPs: As a debater, a sweet DA/CP strat is my favorite and I often find that people don’t make enough use of that strategy. You may read a counterplan, and you may be conditional, unless the aff can prove why not.

Ks: I personally didn't go for the K that often but some of my favorite debates as a debater and as a judge have been critical. I think I have a good general understanding of a lot of literature. However, I am still not a philosophy major. (Poli sci, if you’re curious).

love case debate as well. I think too many negative teams miss the easy arguments on case that may even win the round.

Speaker points: These are super subjective for me (but I have been called a point fairy, and frankly I'm not ashamed. You kids work hard). Sometimes you charm me and you get a 29+. Sometimes you appall me but I'll still give you a 26. Please try to charm me. I also have a very expressive face, so if you watch carefully you can probably tell how I'm feeling. If you have to address me, I would rather be called Kelly than judge.

Last thoughts:

Paperless debate: I don’t mind it but I HATE it when flashing takes 5 years. I won’t time your flashing but I swear I will drop your speaks if it gets excessive. Please don’t make me make that call.

Policy: Policy debaters tend to rely on their cards like they rely on air to breathe. Don’t. You can make an argument without a card, contrary to popular belief. Just have a claim and a warrant and I promise you can do it.

LD: I'm what you would call progressive AF. I can't help it. Policy made me this way. However, I will still (happily) listen to a traditional LD case. I see the value in every type of LD you want to do. If you want to read a classic value/VC case, I'm down. If you want to read a K, I'm down. If you want to read a plan text, I'm down. Ultimately, if you have questions just ask.

You can email me if you have questions pre or post round: I'll try to reply quickly. 



Shae Bunas Paradigm

3 rounds

Shae Bunas
Debated @ Oklahoma for 4 years.

Currently an Assistant Coach @ UCO.

Big Picture

In general, I don't have much of a preference for what people read in front of me. Despite having debated critiques throughout college I enjoy CP/DA/T debates and hope teams will be willing to read those arguments if they are more prepared to do so. Whatever strategy you choose, the more specific the strategy the better.

Specific arguments

Topicality: Generic T arguments don't get very far in front of me unless they are based in the literature and the negative can prove that the loss of core (generic) ground outweighs the affs education claims (e.g., why is the politics da/other generic da more important than the aff's particular education). If the aff doesn't read any offense they will very likely lose the debate.

Framework: Absent a T component it's not a reason to reject the aff. I have yet to hear a good reason why policy education is the only predictable education.

Disads: 'DA turns the case' is pretty important. I could be persuaded of 'no risk of the da' but it's unlikely. 

CPs: Well-researched PICs are enjoyable and I encourage you to read them. I tend to lean negative on theory but aff on questions of competition. Textual/functional competition is up for debate.

Critiques: In my experience, alternatives are under-debated. The aff needs offense against the alt and the neg needs a specific explanation of how the alt solves the case. Impact framing is important: don't stop at 'utilitarianism is key' or 'ethics first'. Tell me why you should still win even if you lose the impact framing debate (e.g., 'even if the neg wins that ethics comes first you will still vote aff because....'). Absent specific link analysis the permutation is pretty compelling. When deciding between reading the K you always go for and are comfortable with versus reading the K's you know that I read you should default to the K's that you are comfortable with. Don't read a huge-ass overview in the block, put it on the line-by-line.

Theory: Reading blippy blocks is a non-starter as are cheap shots. Just like every other issue in debate it needs to be well-developed before I will consider it. Conditionality is probably ok as long as the neg isn't reading contradictory positions.

Evidence: I prefer a handful of quality cards that are debated well over a stack of shitty cards that are read as fast as possible. As such, I'm persuaded by smart analytical arguments that point out the contrived nature of the case advantage/da/cp/k/whatever. You won't convince me that a card cut from a blog should be rejected if it has a warrant in it. I evaluate arguments, not qualifications with T debates being the exception to the rule: literature-based definitions hold more water than the definition given by merriam-webster or some other dictionary.

Paperless: Clock stops when the jumping team pulls the flash drive out of their computer.

Jeff Buntin Paradigm

5 rounds

Jeff Buntin
Northwestern University

Feelings----------------------------------------X--Dead inside



Read no cards-----------------------------X------Read all the cards

Conditionality good--X----------------------------Conditionality bad

States CP good-----------------------X-----------States CP bad

Politics DA is a thing-------------------------X----Politics DA not a thing

Always VTL-------x--------------------------------Sometimes NVTL

UQ matters most----------------------X----------Link matters most

Fairness is a thing-X------------------------------Delgado 92

Tonneson votes aff-----------------------------X-Tonneson clearly neg

Try or die--------------x---------------------------What's the opposite of try or die

Not our Baudrillard-------------------------------X Yes your Baudrillard

Clarity-X--------------------------------------------Srsly who doesn't like clarity

Limits--------------------X--------------------------Aff ground

Presumption---------------------------------X-----Never votes on presumption

Resting grumpy face---X--------------------------Grumpy face is your fault

Longer ev--------X---------------------------------More ev

"Insert this rehighlighting"----------------------X-I only read what you read

2017 speaker points---------------------X--------2007 speaker points

CX about impacts----------------------------X----CX about links and solvency

Dallas-style expressive----------X---------------D. Heidt-style stoic

Referencing this philosophy in your speech--------------------X-plz don't

Fiat double bind-----------------------------------------X--literally any other arg

AT: --X------------------------------------------------------ A2:

AFF (acronym)-------------------------------------------X Aff (truncated word)

"It's inev, we make it effective"------------------------X---"It'S iNeV, wE mAkE iT eFfEcTiVe"

Jonica Bushman Paradigm

6 rounds

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James Bushman Paradigm

6 rounds


James Bushman I am a high school principal and a former teacher and speech coach.  I have taught critical thinking and love to hear good argumentation from students.    I have judged this event last year at this tournament but this will be the first time this year I will have heard this topic be argued.



Speed,  I am okay with speed but only if you speak articulately.  If you see that I am not following you, you should slow down, rephrase, etc. like good communicators do.  In practice, the more abstract or complex your reasoning is, the slower you want to go to make sure I am following you.

Topicality:  It matters to me that your plan be topical.    If you are going to run with a plan that is advanced beyond the typical plan, you better have a good command of the ideas and show in your argumentation that you really know what you are talking about.    I understand theoretical arguments really well and debaters frequently mispronounce words, have superficial understand of big ideas, and make big mistakes in their argumentation that greatly reduces your credibility.    So beware, if you are going off topic.

 Speaking, you will do better if you look at your opponents and me the judge.  I put a premium on debaters who are good communicators.


Judy Butler Paradigm

6 rounds

Judy Butler: Hired Gun

Affiliations: Too numerous to list

Experience: High School: 29 years; College: 27 years

I will not attempt to characterize what the purpose or value of debate is in this missive; merely how I tend to evaluate the debates I get to judge. I think of myself as a teacher and the debaters as students and strive to treat them with the respect that relationship deserves. I thoroughly enjoy judging debates from almost any theoretical perspective. I also strive to support new ideas, sources of evidence, academic fields and literature entering debate that have traditionally been undervalued.

I like judging debates where the debaters directly address each other's arguments from the jump as opposed to waiting until rebuttals to compare arguments.

I like judging debates where the arguments/positions evolve in relation to one another as opposed to simply in vacuums - I will totally listen to debates about conditionality and don't have attitude about multiple advocacies.

I like judging debates when the debaters show respect for each other, including their partners - contempt for an argument or position is different than contempt for a person.

I like judging theory debates that have depth as opposed to breadth - five or seven words are really not arguments, nor are they flowable. I ten to shy away from voting on theory arguments that require that I "punish" debaters. I prefer theory arguments that are grounded in the effect on the debate process and the value of including or excluding certain argumentative perspectives and practices.

I like judging debaters that focus on comparison and argument evolution rather than repetition and tend to reward both content and style when apportioning speaker points. Specifically, winning your argument is different than answering theirs: saying why you are right AND why they are wrong is the minimum necessary to answer/extend an argument and put yourself in a position to win that argument in the last rebuttals. Ideally, this level of extension could begin in the 1NC and could continue throughout the debate by all the following speeches.

I promise to be riveted to your speeches, your cross-exes, and my flow. I flow what the evidence says, not just your label. I hope that softens the blow when I say that I don't want to be on the email chain - the debate I'm judging is the one I heard and flowed, not the one I read. If I need/want to see something I will ask - but I need you to be clear in the first place. If you want to understand and comprehend the quality extensions I am asking for in real time, clarity when you originally read your evidence is critical.

PS: Your prep time stops running when you have sent the speech - not before

Happy Debating!

Justin Cajanding Paradigm

5 rounds

4 years debating at Damien HS (2011-2015)
currently taking a break from debating at Stanford University
No particular argument preferences, do whatever you feel you're best at and have fun. You should know that I've had very little interaction with the current China topic either in judging or doing research on the topic.
K -These are the types of debates I enjoy judging the most. My senior year was comprised almost entirely with going for some sort of critique of anti-blackness but I should be familiar with most authors or portions of critical theory that you may read from. Although rounds in which the K is deployed are my favorite rounds to judge, I really would like to see more specificity in the development of a specific link story that interacts with multiple potentially problematic portions of the affirmative. Absent that, reaching the extent of your impact scenarios and remaining unsusceptible to permutations becomes difficult in my mind. I do not find affirmative framework interpretations that exclude all critical alternatives or perspectives as persuasive. 
"Non-traditional/performance" affs - Love them. Do as you wish. 
F/W - I think you can go for framework against K affs but there are some caveats I do have. While I think framework needs to be beyond simply theoretical pushes regarding fairness and predictability, I find very questionable the idea that the majority of K affs do not access some if not all the skills to be gained from the traditional way of interacting with this activity and feel most aff teams will most definitely not only be more prepared to clash in this sort of debate but also begin the process of setting up this debate much earlier. Additionally, it goes without saying that regardless of the extent of the framework debate and the level of its interaction with other pages, answering and engaging with what was actually said in the 1AC is very important and absent that, even how I should evaluate any of the substantive portions of framework can drastically change.
CPs - Sure. Exploit any generic link chains or advantages to the aff just be cautious of cheating too much with illegit process CPs (unless you can defend it, that's cool too.) Going for theory on the CP is fine with me but well developed impact calculus that I can actually catch outside of a 2 second blip is very much key. Condo is sometimes good.
DAs - Also fine, but I think you can go very far with smart analytics on the majority of bad disadvantages. On point evidence comparison and not dropping crucial things like DA turns or solves the case is important throughout the entire debate.
T - In-depth impact comparison beyond repetitively talking about the internal links is crucial to going for T in front of me. Competing interpretations is generally more persuasive to me than reasonability claims but that's less of a personal opinion and more of a lack of substantiation in the debate proper. Again, I have very limited experience with this year's res so I'll be very reliant on the spin in these debates rather than being informed by popular perception as to whether an aff is considered topical or not after working at an institute or extensively during the season.
Other thoughts/misc - No prep for flashing, just don't take forever. Please keep track of your own prep. 
Questions or Concerns?
email me at

Rashid Campbell Paradigm

1 rounds

My Judging philopsophy is simple. I debated for the University of Oklahoma and became the First African-American Top Speaker of the National Debate Tournament in 2014. I understand every style of debate. I debated about Whiteness and could be classified as a performance debater. I vote for teams who explain clearly how thier plan/kritik works. More so the teams I usually vote for win because of their explanation of their impacts and the ways that those impacts are effectected by the other team. I prefer debater to explain thier arguments in full. I will not flow the rest of an argument that is not explained or in other words I will not do the debating for the debater. I like real world debates that talk about realistic impacts and not just Extinction and Nuclear War. I will Vote for T or any other argument if it is explained in a way that I believe is persuasive. All in all any debater can win in front of me they just need to clearly explain thier argument.  

Monique Candiff Paradigm

4 rounds

I did policy debate at Notre Dame High School for 3 years. The Cal Invitational is my first tournament on this topic. I have a slight preference for K's but am pretty open to anything.

Richard Cardenas Paradigm

4 rounds

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Elyse Conklin Paradigm

3 rounds

i'm not currently coaching any teams (2018-19) but will be judging occasionally. i have a good base knowledge of the topics and i really don't care about trendy arguments or teams.

i recently graduated from the masters in comm program at wake forest where i coached for two years. i coached whitney young magnet hs 2010 - 2014, walter payton college prep 2014 - 2018. i worked as a research/data analyst for the naudl from 2012 - 2014 and am currently a writing/research specialist for a litigation firm in ann arbor.

i have judged quite frequently for the last six years and am well-versed in most areas and styles of debate. i tend to coach "high theory" teams (whatever that means), but i think in order to be good at debate you have to engage and understand what other people are saying. i am more dispassionate than dogmatic when it comes to substance. good research and sound argumentation matter to me more than anything, though your cap good args better be post-Obama and sound

judge philosophies are deceptive, i would advise you to utilize this page mainly as a stylistic tool, rather than strategic. by this, i mean most of the advice i'm writing will help you improve your speaks in front of me--this isn't here to coach you, dictate your arguments, or give you my thoughts on every type of argument or debate to be had.

i try to reward quality, up to date research related to the topic. i could easily be persuaded that evidence written by individuals who are also in the judging pool of that tournament should not be evaluated.

i'm more willing to vote on presumption because the other side has not given me a coherent, justifiable reason to vote for them. i flow straight down and figure out where arguments interact later in order to record as much content as possible. this works out well as i tend to judge debates with less sheets of paper and long overviews.

i tend to write as much as i can during the debate as i flow, and my deciding process involves identifying the main questions/issues of a debate, how the debate itself answers those questions, and why those answers mean an aff or neg ballot. it would behoove you to identify those questions for me in your final rebuttals. in rounds that aren't close, i can call a winner/loser easily. in close rounds i read the ev, evaluate the args, write an rfd for both sides, and pick the one that i can explain better/is a better decision. i tend to view the debate holistically - generally, your arguments build up to form a coherent ballot. i only pick one technical argument to center my decision around if you tell me to, even technical drops require an explanation of how it implicates the rest of the debate.

i like well-organized intellectually stimulating debates, whatever "category" they fall in. we all make choices. justify them.
don't let my presence deter you from the most strategic 2NR choice. the more aff-specific, the better. i loveeeeee impact turns, of all varieties, regardless of your stance on liberalism.

obligatory framework vs. planless aff section:

if i hear a k aff and am left wondering " do what?" i'm happy to vote neg, but you have to outdebate the aff (what a novel idea). i like framework debates that get to the heart of why we do this activity, what communication means, and epistemological questions about what good debates and research processes should look like. debate itself is not a terminal impact, so i am better for ground impacts than fairness impacts. just because "debate is a game" doesn't mean i want to play a bad one. this seems to scare people; while i think my own ethical standards implicate everything i do (pure form, pure content don’t exist!), i also think that means i hold people to high quality standards. meaning, i love voting against planless affs that attempt to avoid hard debates. i write planless affs designed to provide the negative with more than concessionary ground (i swear to goddess, i try), i dont like voting for affs that dont link to things. i like affs that facilitate good debates, not affirmatively biased arguments that no link to things or claim feelings outweigh. but i am also unwilling to fill in the gaps for what certain terms like procedural fairness mean. the procedure of debate now is much different than when i debated 2003-2007.

i think to make framework less bland you should engage some flavors of topicality beyond erickson 3, i think it gets you some more depth on why your model of debate is good.

i think of framework debates in terms of both external and internal offense. what is the meta-impact of the aff/neg in terms of this weird activity and people we interact with, as well as the implications of the resolution in terms of more traditional impacts. i generally find final rebuttals should address both in fw debates. k affs tend to focus too much on their offense and not how their aff implicates debate itself. your aff shouldn't win because it is right about everything and unanswerable, your aff should win because it has good answers to arguments - yes, hard debate is good debate. policy debate isn't necessarily hard or good if you read shitty cards, just like kritikal debate isn't always great either when you read the same card from 2010 every debate.

i could be persuaded by contextual and smart topical versions of affirmatives that don't defend government action, but they should be topical/solve the aff. i generally think affirmatives should have the ability to be impact-turned, but not that the consequences of a plan / policy necessarily always have to be that point of contestation. some affs just cannot be disproven, and these probably make negative strategy difficult. some neg debaters are too lazy to find the offense against say, a cap bad aff, and go one off framework. apparently debate-ability is the new hotness, so both sides should think about what their vision of a valuable debate should look like, and why it matters that i endorse it.

just an fyi, i would not recommend trying to gauge the round based upon my facial expressions. i tend to flow without really looking up or reacting, so just do your thing and i will evaluate it to the best of my ability because i respect the activity and people who work hard. i'm listening, i would prefer not to make a lot of eye contact with you.

i suppose the one type of argument that is an uphill battle for the neg are process counterplans. those rounds are the few i would prefer to vote on theory than "substance." but i have voted for process CPs in the past if you can justify why that particular procedural education is important and predictable for the aff to defend against.

i enjoy when people tell me what my RFD should look like during the last rebuttals. 2NRs that say "even if" and pre-empt the 2AR make me happy.

the words "i voted on the perm" only come out of my mouth if the 2AR spends a good amount of time on it. either really win the perm, or win the aff. it's not fair to the 2NR if you make the perm blippy throughout the debate and i just happen to think they're not mutually exclusive. i need to know the function of the perm, how it solves the links, and if there is a net benefit to the perm. not just that - hey - you could do both, next arg.

please do not read arguments about sexual violence or rape in front of me. gender matters and i'm happy to listen to arguments about feminism, etc. - but RAPE SHOULD NOT BE A COMPETITIVE IMPACT. i write this because i would not feel ok having to decide whether or not one rape outweighs another, whether "rape" outweighs "hegemony," etc. i appreciate discussions about sexual violence, just not in a competitive form that would force me to vote in a way that trivializes something so important. this would cause me extreme emotional distress to the point where i have considered walking out of a round 7 at the TOC and letting tab figure it out. strike me if your fundamental arguments relate to sexual violence, and take the cards out of the speech doc if you are putting together a strategy and i am judging you. ask me before the round if you are unsure (i.e. talking about gender is not the same as a death good debate that comes down to whether or not rape is a fate worse than death).

time your speech, your partner's speech, the other team, and prep. if suddenly it seems like you have given a 12 minute 2AC, i will become even grumpier than usual and dock everyone's speaks .1
if you have any questions, ask me before i actually judge you.

Deven Cooper Paradigm

3 rounds

High school debate: Baltimore Urban Debate League

College debate: Univ of Louisville then Towson Univ

Grad work: Cal State Fullerton

Current: Director of Debate at Long Beach State (CSULB)


Speaker Scale

29.5-30: one of the best speakers I expect to see this year and has a high grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and Swag is on 100.

29.1 - 29.5: very good speaker has a middle grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and mid-range swag.
29: quite good speaker; low range of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and mid-range swag.

28.4 - 28.9: good speaker; may have some above average range/ parts of the C.U.N.T.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out.

28 - 28.3: solid speaker; needs some work; probably has average range/ parts of the C.U.N.T.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out.

27.1 - 27.5: okay speaker; needs significant work on the C.U.N.T.S acronym.

< 27: you have done something deeply problematic in this debate like clipping cards or violence.

Judging Proper

I am willing to hear any arguments that are well explained and impacted and relate to how your strategy is going to produce scholarship or policy action. I will refer to an educator framework unless told otherwise..This means I will evaluate the round based on how you tell me you want it to be framed and I will offer comments on how you could make your argument better after the round. Comparison, Framing, OFFENSE is key for me.

I avoid the privileging of certain teams or styles over others because that makes debate more unfair, uneducational, and makes people not feel valued or wanted in this community.

I judge debates according to the systematic connection of arguments rather than solely line by line…BUT doesn’t mean if the other team drops turns or other arguments that I won’t evaluate that. They must be impacted and explained. PLEASE always point out reason why the opposing team is bad and have contextualized reasons for why they have created a bad impact. I DO vote on framework and theory arguments….I’ve been known to vote on Condo

Don’t try to adapt to how I used to debate if you genuinely don’t believe in doing so or just want to win a ballot. If you are doing a performance I will hold you to the level that it is practiced, you have a reason for doing so, and relates to the overall argument you are making…Don’t think “oh! I did a performance in front of Deven I win.” You are sadly mistaken if so.

Overall I would like to see a good debate where people are confident in their arguments and feel comfortable being themselves and arguing how they feel is best. I am not here to exclude you or make you fell worthless or that you are a "lazy" intellectual as some debaters may call others, but I do like to see you defend your side to the best of your ability

A few issues that should be clarified:

Paperless: Prep time ends when the flash is out of your computer. Any malfunctioning means your prep has begun again. If the opponent you are facing doesn't have a laptop you must have a viewing one or give up not be classist GOSH...

Framework and Theory: I love smart arguments in this area. I am not inclined to just vote on debate will be destroyed or traditional framework will lead to genocide unless explained very well and impacted. There must be a concrete connection to the impacts articulated on these and most be weighed. I will not vote on conditionality good alone…You better point out the contradictions in the 2AC/1AR. I am persuaded by the deliberation arguments and topical version of the Aff.

Performance: It must be linked to an argument that is able to defend the performance and be able to explain the overall impact on debate or the world itself. Please don’t do a performance to just do it…you MUST have a purpose and connect it to arguments. Plus debate is a place of politics and args about debate are not absent politics sometimes they are even a pre-req to “real” politics, but I can be persuaded otherwise. You must have a role of the ballot or framework to defend yourself or on the other side say why the role of the ballot is bad. I also think those critics who believe this style of debate is anti-intellectual or not political are oversimplifying the nuance of each team that does performance. Take your role as an educator and stop being an intellectual coward.

Topic/Resolution: I will vote on reasons why or why not to go by the topic...unlike some closed minded judges who are detached from the reality that the topics chosen may not allow for one to embrace their subjectivity or social location. This doesn’t mean I think talking about puppies and candy should win, for those who dumb down debate in their framework args in that way. You should have a concrete and material basis why you chose not to engage the topic and linked to some affirmation against racism/sexism/homophobia/classism/elitism/white supremacy and produces politics that are progressive.

High Theory K: i.e Hiediggar, Zizek, D&G, Butler, Arant, and their colleagues…this must be explained to me in a way that can make some material sense to me as in a clear link to what the aff has done or an explanation of the resolution…I feel that a lot of times teams that do these types of arguments assume a world of abstract that doesn’t relate fully to how to address the needs of the oppressed that isn’t a privileged one. However, I do enjoy Nietzsche args that are well explained and contextualized. Offense is key with running these args and answering them.

Disadvantages: I’m cool with them just be well explained and have a link/link wall that can paint the story…you can get away with a generic link with me if you run politics disads. Disads on case should be impacted and have a clear link to what the aff has done to create/perpetuate the disad. If you are a K team and you kick the alt that solves for the disads…that is problematic for me.

Counterplans: They have to solve at least part of the case and address some of the fundamental issues dealing with the aff’s advantages especially if it’s a performance or critical aff…I’m cool with perm theory with a voter attached.

Race/ Identity arguments: LOVE these especially from the black/Lantinx perspective, but this doesn’t mean you will win just because you run them like that. I like to see the linkage between what the aff does wrong or what the aff has perpetuated. I’m NOT likely to vote on a link of omission.

Case Args: Only go for case turns…they are the best and are offensive , however case defense may work. If you run a K or performance you need to have some interaction with the aff to say why it is bad.

Jason Courville Paradigm

3 rounds

For email chains and any questions, my email is

Speaking Style (Speed, Quantity) - I like fast debate. Speed is fine as long as you are clear and loud. I will be vocal if you are not. A large quantity of quality arguments is great. Supplementing a large number of quality arguments with efficient grouping and cross-application is even better.

Theory - Theory arguments should be well impacted/warranted. I treat blippy/non-warranted/3 second theory arguments as non-arguments. My threshold for voting on a punishment voter ("reject the team") is higher than a "reject the argument, not the team" impacted argument. I'm open to a wide variety of argument types as long as you can justify them as theoretically valuable.

Topicality - My topicality threshold is established by the combination of answers.

Good aff defense + no aff offense + solid defense of reasonability = higher threshold/harder to win for the neg.

Good aff defense + no aff offense + neg wins competing interps = low threshold/easy to win for the neg.

Counterplans - counterplan types (from more acceptable to more illegit): advantage CPs, textually/functionally competitive PICs, agent CPs, textually but not functionally competitive PICs (ex. most word pics), plan contingent counterplans (consult, quid pro quo, delay)

Disadvantages - Impact calculus is important. Especially comparison of different impact filters (ex. probability outweighs magnitude) and contextual warrants based on the specific scenarios in question. Not just advantage vs disadvantage but also weighing different sub-components of the debate is helpful (uniqueness vs direction of the link, our link turn outweighs their link, etc).

Kritiks - My default framework is to assess whether the aff has affirmed the desirability of a topical plan. If you want to set up an alternative framework, I'm open to it as long as you win it on the line-by-line. I most often vote aff vs a kritik on a combination of case leverage + perm. It is wise to spend time specifically describing the world of the permutation in a way that resolves possible negative offense while identifying/impacting the perm's net benefit.

I most often vote neg for a kritik when the neg has done three things:
1. effectively neutralized the aff's ability to weigh their case,
2. there is clear offense against the perm, and
3. the neg has done a great job of doing specific link/alternative work as well as contextualizing the impact debate to the aff they are debating against.

Performance/Projects - I’ve voted both for and against no plan affs. When I’ve voted against no plan affs on framework, the neg team won that theory outweighed education impacts and the neg neutralized the offense for the aff’s interpretation.

Other Comments
Things that can be a big deal/great tiebreaker for resolving high clash/card war areas of the flow:
- subpointing your warrants/tiebreaking arguments when you are extending,
- weighing qualifications (if you make it an explicit issue),
- comparing warrants/data/methodology,
- establishing criteria I should use to evaluate evidence quality,
- weighing the relative value of different criteria/arguments for evidence quality (ex. recency vs preponderance/quantity of evidence)

If you do none of the above and your opponent does not either, I will be reading lots of evidence and the losing team is going to think that my decision involved a high level of intervention. They will be correct.

Matt Cuevas Paradigm

3 rounds


If your still reading this, you either don't care, or your stuck with me anyways.

This is the tl;dr version:

I have 4.5 years of experience in debating. Half Policy, half parli. I haven't judged enough to develope any serious preferences, so Ill pretty much vote on anything if you sell it to me. I'll do my best to keep up. I understand the Need for Speed™ in the 1ar, but if you go supersanic fast, don't expect me to flo everything.


Race: I will vote on race (the argument, not the team), but only if you offer a sincere and legitimate enough reason to vote for you. Also, don't expect me to just understand your argument. Chances are, it'll be the first time I've ever heard it, so don't assume that I can just fill in the blanks.

T: In my book, if you don't have voters, then I don't vote on T. I'm dead serious. Even if the aff drops interp, violation, and standards, but obliterates voters. Then I don't vote. The same goes for any procedural for that matter.

Language: I'm split 5050 on the use of language K's. If its silly, I'll be inclined to vote on it. That being said, if you can sell a pile of dog shit, then I'll buy it. In my mind, there are no bad arguments, just difficult ones to win. Use your best judgement. If it's silly, We'll both know.

Also, a message to both teams: I want a clear role of the ballot. I'll vote on net-benefits unless I hear otherwise. Even T's and Theory need some kind of impact. I know theres probably not a whole lot of specificity here, so if you have more questions, ask. 

Erica Duff Paradigm

3 rounds

A few things-
I tend to stick to the flow evaluating offense/defense unless you tell me otherwise - A dropped argument is not necessarily a round winner for my ballot
Basically I will vote on whatever you tell me is most important and I am willing to listen to anything you want to read in front of me.
Be respectful - we are all here to have a good debate

T: To be honest I have never been a very good T debater and I think T debates are a big pain to judge. If the rebuttals do boil down to topicality please slow down so I can get all the nuances of the debate. Limits and predictability are not impacts they are internal links. Discussing how limits and predictability affect debate/ research/ neg prep and what that means in terms of education etc. (This also goes for framework debates!!!). 

Theory: I will usually never vote for theory as a reason to reject the team unless it's a Condo debate. Generally, I think reasonable conditionality (example: 1 Kritik and 1 CP) is a good thing but condo bad arguments can be used strategically to get the aff out of a bind. On theory arguments that are not Condo I am more neg leaning but am open to being persuaded by either team and it really just comes down to the flow.

Kritiks: I enjoy Kritiks feel free to run them aff and neg. I am well versed with feminist / gender theory, although I am familiar with other critical literature bases. The link debate is the most important part of a critique for me. Superb impact analysis does not matter if there is no link to the 1AC. I also think that performative links are valid arguments and can be used as reasons for why the perm does not solve. 
I think the role of the ballot is to vote for who wins their arguments and does the better debating. If you say the role of the ballot is something else, you still have to win that it is the best role of the ballot so I would vote for you becuase you're winning your arguments... 
I generally think the aff should get perms although can be persuaded otherwise in an instance where the aff is not about the resolution.

Aff framework vs. the k - probably will never vote on "you don't get a k when you're neg". Your interp should probably say you should get to weigh your imapcts vs. the K.
Performative/Non-Traditional - I think the aff should be about something pertaining to the topic and reccomend something be done that is different than the status quo (does NOT have to be a plan or involve the United States Federal Government). If the aff chooses to not do this, they'll have to win why the topical version of the aff can't solve for the performance/discussion that the aff began and win an impact turn to framework. In terms of impact analysis. You should be able to explain what reasonable neg ground exists versus your aff that is within the realm of topic-reltaed research. That said, I'll still vote for an aff that is not about the topic if they win their impact turns to framework/accessibility questions. (*** Basically lifted this section from Maddie Langr's judge philosophy because I agree). 

CPs: They're necessary for almost every policy oriented 1NC. If you win you solve the aff than you don't need to win a huge risk of your offense to get my ballot.

DAs: Defense alone is not enough to beat a DA for me there is usually never a 0% risk of a link or impact. Same goes for neg, a DA without good case take outs is not enough to win and you always need good DA turns case arguments. Impact calculous generally filters my decision for case v. disad debates. As for politics theory such as intrinsicness, vote no, etc. I will vote on it but I usually think it only belongs in the 2AR if the neg has messed something up.

Cat Duffy Paradigm

5 rounds



Cat Duffy

Michigan State/Niles North


Meta-Level: It's been several years since I've judged extensively so make sure you're clear. Explain your arguments/acronyms/short hand. I err towards offense/defense pretty heavily. The older I get the more persuaded by truth I am but technical debating still matters. Evidence quality is important, how you spin a piece of evidence is also important. Be nice. Prep time ends when the jump drive leaves the computer/you hit send on the email. 


Topicality: Not my favorite debates. Please slow down -- if you go a million miles a minute I'm going to miss stuff. When extending T, contextualize your vision of the resolution through case lists of affirmatives that your interpretation justifies and those it excludes and impact why that division is important. Affs should read a counter interpretation or you’ll probably lose. Impact the standard you're going for and do comparative impact work. 


Counterplans: I lean negative on most theory questions. The states counterplan is OBVIOUSLY theoretically legitimate. As is international fiat. Theory is almost always a reason to reject the argument except in the instance of conditionality. If you want theory to be an option please stop reading your pre-scripted blocks and actually do the line by line. I think the judge can kick the counterplan unless the aff tells me not to. I’m better for the aff on permutation/competition questions against counterplans that compete off of certainty/immediacy. If you're aff you need to quantify an impact to your solvency deficit. 


Disads: Evidence comparisons are incredibly important. Comparative impact work is a must – don’t make me decide after the debate if the disad turns the case or the case turns the disad, odds are you won’t be happy with the result. Disads are the spot where 1AR sand-bagging bothers me the worst. If you call a thumper by any other name you’ll lose speaker points. Read uniqueness for your link stories. The politics disad is obviously overwhelmingly intrinsic. Vote no could probably be dropped twice by the negative and I still would not consider it a real argument. Other intrinsicness arguments require an answer, although not much of one.



The K: Really not great for the K. When the aff wins vs. the K it’s typically on the permutation (the double bind gets me every time) and that at least some portion of the aff is true and has an impact. The negative wins going for the K by actually explaining why the link compromises affirmative solvency. Winning a link doesn't make the aff go away - you need to explain why the thesis of your K makes the affs impacts not true, or proves they can't solve them, etc. Explain the impact of winning the framework debate. An affirmative must read a topical plan and defend it.


Speaker Points: The following is largely taken from Carly Wunderlich and Ed Lee who said it better than I ever could.


Things that increase speaker points


1.     Connections on central questions- slowing down and effectively communicating about guiding issues

2.     Evidence comparisons – tell me why all the evidence you read actually matters. Otherwise I’ll decide after the round and we might not agree on what a piece of evidence says.

3.     Clarity – I will call clear if you’re not. After that the points go down. I have no poker face – if I can’t understand you, you’ll be able to tell. Look up from the laptop and find out!

4.     Strategic cross-x’s – make arguments instead of asking for the fourth time “where does your card actually say that?”

5.     Technical proficiency - answering clearly all necessary arguments. Line by line is a lost art - particularly in the 2AC on case.



Things that decrease speaker points


1.     Cross-reading, clipping- if there is an ethics challenge made I will stop the debate and evaluate it. If the person in question is found to be doing it they will lose the debate and receive zero speaker points

2.     Tech fails- please be prompt and quick with tech things. In a world of decision times this is increasingly terrible.

3.      (also borrowed from Ed Lee) Creating a hostile environment – Respect is a non-negotiable for me.  It always has been.  It is the primary reason I go out of my way to be civil and cordial to everyone I interact with.  I know that there is no chance that we will have a productive conversation unless you are willing to speak to me in a way that acknowledges my humanity.  I not only have that expectation for the way you communicate with me but the way you communicate with each other.  It is not healthy for me or anyone else in the room to watch you verbally assaulting your opponent.  If you are engaging your opponent in a way that you would not if you were in front of one of your professors or the president of your university then you should not do it in front of me.  I am more than willing to have a conversation with anyone about the where this line should be drawn.  That conversation is long overdue. 







Keith Eddins Paradigm

6 rounds

Mid-season Thoughts/Update on Arms Sales Topic: FWIW, I find my RFDs this year including a fair number of rounds where I'm pointing out that one side or the other ignored (or, at least, under-covered) case debate to their disadvantage when it comes to the decision. For example, I've seen multiple NEGs who started out very strong on the case flow essentially drop case and lose, when they were winning one or another potentially decisive case-side argument. And I've seen too many AFFs lose on the case side to solid NEG arguments because AFF over-covered weaker NEG off-case positions while not giving enough attention to much better NEG arguments vs. advantages/solvency. In other words -- and I don't think this gives either side a particular advantage -- there's a lot of very good debate ground being missed/avoided/ignored on case, and too much time being spent on (what I see as) pretty weak generic DAs, T arguments, and such. This topic -- to me, at least -- lends itself to good case-side positions and arguments.


After retiring from the U.S. Foreign Service, I returned to high school debate as a (volunteer) coach and frequent judge in 2013. When not coaching and/or judging debate, I teach international affairs and public policy at the University of Oregon.

CX Paradigm: My judging approach has evolved significantly over the past five-plus years. While I still consider myself more of a truth-over-tech/policymaking-paradigm judge, I don't believe -- as some would suggest -- that policymaker automatically equates with a simple util approach. Far from it. Essentially, I view the two teams as playing the role of competing actors within the government, each trying to convince me to endorse their policy option. But I remain open to whichever framework one of the teams can convince me should or best applies.

And while I have an inherent bias toward the realistic (particular as it involves global security issues such as nuclear weapons, NATO and Russia, and the nature and distribution of power and influence within the international state system), I'm fully open to Kritiks. That said, although I know my Marx/Engels/Lenin pretty well, if you want to run French post-modernist arguments -- or anything of that sort -- you'll need to explain it to me in terms I can understand and appreciate. And that may mean slowing down enough to make yourself more comprehensible and persuasive. I would also advise you against running any sort of performance AFF...I'll judge it if you run it, but it's hard for me to evaluate. For better or worse, I still view the resolution as the starting point of any policy debate, and I still believe that an AFF case needs some version -- however abbreviated -- of a case and a plan. And case matters. A significant percentage of the AFF ballots I write end up noting that NEG essentially conceded case...that shouldn’t be the norm. (And, yes, on the other side of that I still very much believe that presumption lies with the NEG...and that going for it is a legit approach that can win a debate.) Unless something is truly and grossly abusive, I am not particularly keen on RVIs or similar arguments for a behavior as opposed to a policy issue on the flow.

As for T, I am more than open to T arguments and will vote NEG on T if the AFF can't make a coherent topicality defense. But be aware that I have a very inclusive topicality threshold (to put it in 2014-15 oceans topic terms, if a case involved salt water I was ready to accept it as reasonable... provided the AFF made that argument).

I'm good with aggressive spreading, but recommend you slow down enough to allow me to hear and flow your tag lines and organizational structure; sign-posting may seem old-fashioned, but if you want me to flow your argument in the correct spot, intelligible sign-posting remains an important element in the process. Pet peeve addressed to 1NCs: LABEL YOUR ARGUMENTS, please. 'Next' is not a label. Off-case, tell me whether you're reading T, a DISAD, a CP, a K, or something else. Similarly, ‘case’ is not a label. Tell me where you want your argument flowed. It may seem 100% clear to you, but it may not be as clear to me (particularly if there's no email chain and I don't have your speech). If there is an email chain, I want to be part of it:

Tag-team CX is fine, but recognize that if the debater who is the designated questioner or respondent is overwhelmed by their partner, both team members will likely receive reduced speaker points.

LD and Parli Paradigm: I'm pretty much tabula rasa in both these formats, happy to judge the debate as it's presented and debated. I will always be a flow judge (who values line-by-line clash as much as possible). But I'm generally more 'progressive' in judging LD and Parli than I am in judging Policy. Go figure. In both LD and Parli, I very much appreciate theory/framework arguments. I also think both LD and Parli debates benefit from explicit plans/advocacies, which thus opens up the NEG option of CPs/counter-advocacies. Ditto K debate in LD and Parli...go for it, provided you know what you're doing (and can present the K clearly and coherently). Basically, the more LD and Parli resemble Policy, the better.

PF Paradigm: Follow the rules, of course, but I'm comfortable with pushing the limits (in terms of advocacies and counter-advocacies and such)...that said, I'm open to the other team pushing back. I will evaluate the debate off my flow, so line-by-line clash and full coverage of the key issues are important. That means spreading is fine with don't have much time in PF, so use what you have to the fullest. Ditto theory (to the extent it exists in PF). Again, PF is kinda/sorta Policy Lite, and I'll generally prefer a more Policy-like approach.

Timekeeping: In all forms of debate I expect competitors to keep their own time (including prep). Also, debaters should keep track of their opponent’s time (including prep). I will make an exception for novices at their first few tournaments, but otherwise time yourselves, please.

Rosemary Endick Paradigm

6 rounds

Quick Summary - Run whatever you want, be clear. It's your round, take advantage of it! Flow judge, give me articulated arguments. Kritiks are appreciated, warrants are awesome and taglines are not enough. The squo is more scarier now than ever - tell me whatever I can do to make debate a welcome space for you.

Background -

NPDA Debate - 3 years - Enough tournaments and practice to be very familiar with pretty much anything you can throw at me in the debate space.

Judging for 3 1/2 years - judged parli, policy and LD a lot (and I.E.s but whateverrr)

Approach to Judging -

-I am pretty tabula rasa, within reason. I default to reasonability inmost debates unless there is framework that asks me to change my perspective.

-I like high-probability, systemic impacts first and foremost. Give me real warrants and evidence and ANALYSIS I can weigh and you'll find my ballot favorable. I will vote on any framing though.

-I am a flow judge. I always walk the path of least intervention and won't extend or make arguments for you. Give me voters to refer to and it'll make my life easier. I'm really serious about this.

-I love anything kritikal, but it isn't necessary. I like topical and non-topical affs, but be careful with ID tix and other super generic non-topical advocacies. I like straight-up policy cases with advantages and DA's and the like. I like contentions with good framework articulated. Essentially, you can do anything if you do it well and make it easy for me to follow.

-I need articulated impacts, and arguments in general. Taglines are not enough. Explain to me the directionality and extent of your impacts.

-I don't like arguments dropped in member speeches to be suddenly voters in rebuttals AKA shadow extensions but people need to point of order it for me to not evaluate it.

-Let me know if there's anything I can do to make the debate space more inclusive for you. If you have any needs or preferences, I'm happy to help.

Argument Prefs -

Framework - I will evaluate the round as you want me to as long as you win framework. I do default to net benes/util, but am totally open to other ways of viewing the round.

Spec -I think spec arguments are rough to win, but I'm open to them. Give me solid standards and proven ground loss and I might pick you up on it.

Topicality - I don't like time-suck T's, and I think that a lot of T arguments don't actually really impact the debate except to inhibit clash. I have a medium threshold for T. You need articulated ground loss usually. However, if you drop it, or any a-priori arguments, you're going to lose the debate. Just be careful.

CPs - Always a great idea. I think CP's are super underused and really effective. I like PIC debates and if you run a CP, you just need to be careful about mutual exclusivity. I don't have a problem with condo CPs.

RVI's - I will vote on them, but only for a good reason i.e. rhetoric in the procedural/DA/whatever, timesuck arguments that are fully fleshed out, etc. Just like all other arguments, if it's blippy I probably won't vote on it and your time is probably better spent elsewhere.

Perms - Always go for the perm. I think the Opp has to really win the perm doesn't function to have a good shot in the round because it is often one of the easiest places to vote.

Kritiks - I like K's! I don't have a ton of background knowledge on some kritiks but have run a lot of Nietzsche, some D&G, Baud, Wilderson, but not enough of any lit other than Nietzsche that I feel confident with, so you need to explain it to me thoroughly. Any form, whether it's performance, rhetoric or otherwise, I am totally cool with. Be careful of overly-generic links.

Performance Prefs -

-I personally can handle speed as long as it's clear, but if your opponents clear or slow you, I expect you accommodate them. Additionally, attempting to spread opponents out of the round will destroy your speaks.

-I couldn't care less if you sit or stand - it's your space, make yourself comfortable

-Partner communication is fine, verbally or through notes, as long as you aren't puppeting. I will only flow what the designated speaker says.

-I don't have an issue with sass or playfulness, but don't be mean to your opponents or partner. There's a fine-line between the two and if you have trouble walking it, I'd be nice to be safe.

-Use your time as you wish, but try not to be too repetitive.

-I don't think you need to yell or be overly angry to try to project confidence. At the same time, you do you.

-If you are being sexist, racist or generally a jerk, your speaks will absolutely reflect that. You don't need to tread on eggshells, but don't be a misogynist, racist person.

Mia Epner Paradigm

Not Submitted

Kyle Eriksen Paradigm

4 rounds

Kyle Eriksen

Green Valley, UNLV.

I haven't been actively involved in debate since the 2016-2017 season. Since then I've been in the acoustics and sound design game.

When I debated I read arguments from all corners of the truth-verse, viewed debate as a game, and tried to be as flexible as possible with argument choice.

The best performances I saw in debate combined an authentic sense of self with a fully realized strategy and worldview. Beyond that, quality evidence delivered with some degree of conviction, sensible assemblages, creative decision making, and great storytelling all make a difference.

I enjoy fast debates steeped in the minutiae as much as high-concept, high-theory, high-whatever discussions. Say what you think is the most competitive, responsive, and strategic. Trust your instincts, get off your blocks, and go for your best seasoned and sauce'd up arguments.

I'm not invested in what debate should be or is - it's your activity, treat it as such!

Aly Fiebrantz Paradigm

3 rounds

Current Director of Speech and Debate at NSU University School in Davie, FL.

Former Director of Forensics and Full time policy debate coach at Cypress Bay High School in Weston, FL (7 years).


General: First judging philosophies are silly. Read whatever arguments you would like to read that you think are best appropriate for that round. I will not wholesale discount or credit arguments at face value. I think people should be nice to each other. I believe in tech over truth within reason, a shitty argument is a shitty argument regardless if it's conceded but, if an argument is dropped it's probably true and my threshold for extension/impact calc is much lower. I will also add .5 to your speaker points (guidelines below) if you engage in GOOD LBL Debate that include numbers in the 2AC. I miss organization. I prefer to have the least amount of judge intervention this means saying things like "extend" are necessary for me. Most importantly I believe the debate round isn't about me it's about the debaters. You do you and you'll be fine (mostly).

Pet Peeves that may result in lower speaker points

1) Longer than 20 second overviews on ANYTHING ever.

2) Claiming you'll go LBL and then failing miserably

3) Responding to a CX question with "we don't take a stance on that"

4) Being generally rude/mean to others. Making people feel unsafe, forcing disclosure of identities etc.

5) I'll do X debate here. This is inefficient but more importantly it normally means you're answering arguments that are in fact not on that place on the flow.

Framework Debates: I don't think you need to defend a plan or the state but I do think you need to defend your interpretation of debate if pressed. Fairness/Predictability are probably good impacts but I can be persuaded otherwise. I think "fair for whom?" Is also an appropriate question when asked in a persuasive manner. I find when I do end up voting on FW it's entirely frustrating if all of the arguments from one side are in a long narrative overview and the other is extending specific arguments on a flow. I am not inclined to take arguments from one piece of a flow and apply them elsewhere without being told.

Planless Debates: I think these debates can be awesome and really enjoyable to watch, however I think you need to defend your interpretation of debate. If that means you don't have to talk about the resolution then tell me why. If that means you don't have to have a plan text that's fine just explain/defend yourself. I sometimes find Framework arguments responsive, and reasons to reject the affirmative it quite honestly just depends on the debate round.

Topicality: I think a lot of the affirmatives on this year's topic are not topical. I'll default to competing interpretations if not told otherwise. I find arguments that Fairness/predictability are good and pretty persuasive. Topicality is never a reverse voting issue, but some K's of T might be persuasive. I think if you go for T in the 2NR you need to extend your Interp, Violation & Impacts clearly.

K's: IF you read high theory stuff (Baudrillard mainly) I might not be the judge for you and/or you need further explanation. Psychoanalysis is bunk science is a believable arg for me. And Presumption is never a winning strategy. Something like Hostage taking really shouldn't be read in front of me, I find myself thinking "who cares" I think rejection is enough of an alternative almost all of the time. Reading FW against K's I don't really ever think is a round winning argument. I'm most likely going to default that the aff gets !!s and the K gets to exist.

CPs/DAs: I don't see these debates very often, but few things. I don't think counter-plans need to be textually competitive. I think if you don't have offense on the disad I'm not likely to vote aff, I don't think terminal defense is almost ever a thing. And I am not willing to judge kick arguments. I AM NOT AN ECONOMIST do not assume I understand anything about the economy at all. It's for everyone's benefit I promise.

Speaker points ... I've done a lot of thinking about this and have decided that my speaker points did not reflect the current inflation and probably unfairly punish teams from breaking when speaker points matter. I will try to follow to the following guidelines:

medicore (you probably aren't breaking): 28.3-28.8,

I'm almost impressed. Perhaps you'll break": 28.8-29.3

I'm impressed, you even were organized and did LBL: 29.4-29.7

Best speech I've ever seen. 29.8-30

E-mail me if you have any questions and include me on email chains please :)


1) I primarily judge policy so most of my reasoning etc will default to policy norms instead of PF norms.

2) BE NICE!!! This includes using offensive/racist/sexist/rhetoric. If this is done you will receive 20 speaker points.

3) I think the 2nd rebuttal needs to answer the speech that has preceded it, and extend theirs.

4) I judge/evaluate arguments as they are presented on the flow. Arguments should be answered in the order they are presented.

5) You should flash speeches or use email chains. Prep is continuously running once speeches end.

6) Terminalize your impacts. There are 3 ways and only 3 ways to evaluate impacts: magnitude, timeframe and probability. Nothing else. Use those. Anything else (like scope) will result in a loss of speaker points.

7) You must read dates. I highly recommend you do not paraphrase evidence. I will evaluate paraphrased evidence as analytics not as real evidence.

8) Disclosure is your friend. You must disclose before the debate to myself/and the other team. Doing so will result in higher speaks. If someone discloses and either a) you do not and they read disclosure theory OR b) you LIE about what you've disclosed, I consider this a TKO. This means if disclosure theory is read in the round then it is basically over. Not disclosing or lying is indefensible.

9) You can only extend things in a subsequent speech if it was in the previous speech. This means defense in summaries, impacts in all speeches, evidence extended etc.

10) Defense does not win debate rounds, you need to extend/evaluate/weigh OFFENSE. A failure to do so will result in a mental coin flip on my part because it's impossible to evaluate competing/unwarranted defensive claims.

Joseph Flores Paradigm

6 rounds

Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League Program Director: 2015 - Present
UC Berkeley Undergrad (non-debating)/Bay Area Urban Debate League CX Coach: 2011- 2015
Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League Debater: 2008-2011

The TL;DR: There is no argument that I won't listen to-do what you do best. My background is in policy with experience debating, coaching, and judging most styles. I still coach/judge, but most of my work recently is administrative or in the tab room. As a result I've judged limited rounds on the topic. I also judge LD, but some of the LD theory/args are weird to me - so ask me about anything you might be concerned about that I may be unfamiliar with.

If there's an email chain, include me:

Regardless of style, I prefer narrow debates. When I come to my decision I start with trying to identify the nexus questions of the debate and begin to place and sequence arguments of the debate around that. If you spend time establishing and answering these questions, you will control how I weigh the arguments in the round. Debates that are less narrow are fine too; however, the limited time you have to allocate between arguments usually leave things unresolved for me, leaving me to need to come to my own conclusions. Generally, I find arguments to be more persuasive when you go for one or two developed impacts/turns instead of three or four blippy ones.

Teams that win my ballot tend to use their established arguments and evidence to clash with their opponents' and have better control of the bigger picture or debate as a whole. Even if statements and line-by-line will help facilitate clash on my flow.

I don't prefer truth over tech, but rather your tech needs to be in the service of a complete argument. Even if an argument is dropped, I need you to articulate the argument and what its significance is for the rest of the flow/round. Simply saying they dropped it doesn't tell me how to evaluate it. Unwarranted claims are not enough for me to vote, even if it was dropped.

I would prefer to not need to call cards/look at a speech doc - if you explain your evidence in a compelling and accurate way that will go much further. I appreciate overviews, but they need to be more than just a summary of your arguments. The overview should be used to show me the big picture of the round; where are all the pieces of the debate and how do they interact?

Assume I don't know your topic specific acronyms.

I will take away speaker points if being paperless gets in the way of debate (ie missing major parts of the speech, giving the other team way more evidence than you read, sending multiple docs per speech that you're reading off of, not marking cards, general lack of organization etc.).

At the same time, being paperless debate is not an excuse not to flow, so if you answer arguments that weren't made, or miss arguments because you were only looking at the speech doc, that's your own fault. Another important note, not everyone owns a laptop. For the rounds where your opponent does not have their own laptop, you should provide a viewing computer during your speech (such as your partner's). When your opponent doesn't have access to your evidence it hurts the debate as a whole.

Other Stuff: Arguments based on anything that happens outside the debate are difficult for me to evaluate (ie- we will take this argument to elims, they said other things in other debates etc) so don't use them unless you feel it is a decisive point to bring up for the debate.


*This section was written for in-person tournaments, and has not been adjusted for online tournaments. Generally speaking I will be more lenient on this with online debates.

Gabe Gangoso Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated for 3 years at Skyline High School in Oakland, CA. Essentially, do what you want. Debate is a unique educational and competitive space. . I will vote on most anything if you give me a good enough reason. I do not lean towards traditional or K/performative debate. Both are good and valuable. Again, do what you want. Have fun. Be nice to each other.

*LD 2019-2020* -I am usually on policy, and have passing knowledge on any particular topic but little. Probably somewhat familiar with core generics but perhaps not the way it's being explained in the debates you've had at camp or other tournaments. I don't know the popular affs on this topic nor do I know about the common T arguments. I probably don't flow as fast as you spread. I'm probably comfortable judging pretty much anything you read except for more dense kritik debates, in which case i will hold you to a base threshold of explanation to someone not familiar with the K. I majored in philosophy at Berkeley, so I am more than willing to entertain whatever ideology, given a proper reading.

Go ahead and add me to whatever email chain:

Flex prep is fine. In's and Out's are fine. Any other practices like this are probably fine.

Mike Girouard Paradigm

6 rounds

Mike Girouard

Assistant Debate Coach w/The Asian Debate League

Years involved in policy debate: 15+

Coached at Baylor, Kansas State, U of Rochester, Augustana College and several High Schools - Debated at Univ of North Texas

I hate people who try to pigeon-hole judges into fitting a particular mold or label them as hacks that only vote for certain args or certain types of arguments.  That being said I would say that I feel as though I can judge and evaluate any kind of debate that you want to have.  I have some feeling about args and I will discuss those more in detail below, but it’s important to keep in mind that when you debate in front of me you should be comfortable in yourself and your arg and you should be fine.  Have the debate that you want to have, because in the end that will make it more enjoyable and educational for everyone involved. 

One last caveat, as this year has progressed and with the transition to paperless debate I find myself calling for less and less evidence after the round.  I feel as though you should be doing the debating in the round.  If it is a question of what the card says or doesn’t say I will probably call for the evidence, but don’t expect me to piece together your argument by reading all of your evidence after the round.  I feel as though this does a disservice to a team that is at least attempting to do the argumentation on the line-by-line. 

Prep Time – my default is that prep time should stop when the other team is flashing their evid.  That being said if there is blatant disregard for this or abusing of this I will revert to prep-time not ending till after the speech has been flashed and given to the opponents.  Before this does occur I will say something in the round.

CP’s – I love a good PIC.  I think it should be the burden of the Aff to defend every aspect of the plan and should have some defense of including it in the plan.  I really don’t like to vote on theory, but I will if that is what you want the debate to be about.  As far as perms go, use them as you like.  Just justify your theory and your fine.  If you are going for a CP in front of me keep a few things in mind: it must have a net benefit and some sort of DA to the perm, it doesn’t necessarily have to solve for all of the Aff, but you need to have something to answer the portions that you don’t solve for, you can have a critical net benefit if you like, just explain how it functions in relationship to the Aff and the advocacy of the CP.   

DA’s – Not really a whole lot to say here.  I like U cards to have some sort of a warrant.  Debate the warrants in the round and don’t make me have to evaluate 15+ U cards to help settle that debate.   I would prefer fewer cards with more warrants to help settle this problem.  Make sure you are giving me some sort of impact calc in the last few speeches and weighing all the potential outcomes of the impacts (i.e. – even, if statements).  If the aff reads a K of your impacts you have to justify them or you will probably lose that argument.  I prefer scenarios with fewer and more warranted internal links as to avoid the proliferation of outlandish impact scenarios.  Make sure there is a solid link and you are weighing everything in the last few speeches and you should be fine.

The K – I am open to most K’s.  I don’t believe that Realism/Framework is the end all be all answer to the K.  Try engaging in the arguments that are being run and you have a better chance of picking up the ballot in front of me.  Arguments that question your representations or epistemological starting point are best answered by providing an offensive justification for your reps or your starting point.  Just make sure you are explaining how you want me to evaluate your K in relationship to the Aff. What are the impacts, what are the implications, do you have an alt, and what is the link.  Make sure all of these things are in the debate and you will be fine.  I do find that most people don’t answer one fundamental question in these types of rounds: What is the role of the critic?  Just answer or at least recognize that these questions exist and you should be alright.

Topicality – My default is that this debate should be about competing interpretations.  You should attempt to answer the question: which interpretation is better for both this debate round and the community as a whole.  This being said, if you don’t want me to evaluate it based on competing interpretations just make the arg and justify it with warranted args and you should be fine.  If you are going for T in front of me you probably need to spend a little bit of time on it in the 2NR.  I’m not saying that you have to go for T and nothing else, but I think it’s an arg that requires a little bit of time for you to adequately go for it.  Things I look for in a T debate: Clear distinction between interpretations, warranted reasons for why your interp is better as well as why the other interp is bad, and the impact these have on not only the round but the community at large.     

Theory – Not a big theory hack, but will vote on it from time to time, especially in instances of clear articulated in round abuse.  Just make sure you are giving warranted reasons why your theory is legit, the specific abuse that has occurred and the impact of them being allowed to do what they did.  That being said, theory should be more than just a whine, engage their args and make sure that you are at least answering their args.  If you expect for me to vote on theory you should devote some time to it in the last couple of speeches.


Performance – I’m fine with different styles of debate.  There are instances where you can ask me to not flow or be so “flogo-centric” and assuming there is a warranted reason why this is legit I will be alright.  A few things to keep in mind if you do chose to do this in front of me: why is your method better than what exists now, why should it be preferred and what are the larger implications on the debate community.  Just make sure you are attempting to at least perceptually engage the other teams args and you will be fine. 

Elsa Givan Paradigm

6 rounds

Elsa Givan

College Preparatory School

Georgetown University

A few quick things:

- I was both a 2A and a 2N in high school. While I read mostly policy affs, I went for the kritik often on the neg, so I’m pretty flexible with argument choices.

- I will work hard to be as objective as possible and evaluate tech over truth unless told otherwise.

- Specificity and effort are rewarded in my book. If it’s clear you’ve done the research and have extensive knowledge of the topic, I will boost your points accordingly.

- Framing the debate is key – the 2NR and 2AR should aim to write my ballot.

- I’d prefer you read enough of your evidence to make a complete argument, so if you’re going to highlight two lines of a card and call it an internal link then it’s probably not worth reading at all. Evidence = claim and warrant (same goes for arguments).

- Please be clear - if you aren’t, I’ll yell it a few times but eventually I will give up. I’m a pretty expressive person so look up every now and then - if I’m obviously frustrated, you should change something.

- Debate is fun – act like it! Be nice and have a good sense of humor.

- Feel free to ask me questions before the debate if I haven’t covered something or you’d like clarification.

Paperless: Prep time ends when the flash drive leaves your computer. If your computer crashes, we’ll stop prep.

Topicality: Topicality needs to be substantively developed for me to vote on it. Please do not be incomprehensibly fast on T in the 2AC, because I will sympathize with the negative if there are missed arguments. Remember to impact your interpretation.

Theory: Theory must be well developed and impacted, like topicality. I am more sympathetic to some theory arguments than others. I never went for conditionality as a 2A and I have a high threshold for this argument – I will vote on it if you win it, but winning it requires substantial time investment in both the 1AR and the 2AR. Other theoretical objections such as international fiat, 50 state fiat, conditions/consult/process theory, etc. are much more persuasive to me.

Case: I really like a good case debate. The 2AC and 1AR need to be clear and warranted on case. I’d prefer if the negative collapsed an extensive case debate from the block into a few winnable arguments in the 2NR instead of going for everything.

Counterplans: I’m a huge fan of a case specific counterplan (especially PICs), so the more specific you get, the better your points/chances will be. Conversely, I’m not a huge fan of process/delay (and consult if it’s hypergeneric) counterplans because I don’t think they’re competitive. I will be persuaded by perm do the CP and theory arguments by the aff. That being said, I was definitely guilty of going for the commission CP and others like it in high school – it’s certainly winnable in front of me, but I’d rather see you go for something more specific.

Disadvantages: I am a strong believer in credible defense. If the aff can point out logical problems with the disad, I will reduce the risk substantially (even if it’s not a carded argument). There can be zero risk of a disad. Clear articulation of the link in the context of the aff is essential. I think that carded arguments about how the disad turns/solves the case are persuasive.

Kritiks: I went for security a lot in high school and I understand it pretty well (same with most other IR-based K’s). Anything beyond that is going to take a high level of explanation and work to get my ballot.

Framework is important and underutilized on both sides - if you can really just lay down a beating on the other team on the framework debate, it will get you so far on every other part of the flow.

For the aff – defend your 1AC! Know who your authors are. Have cards that defend the studies of your authors and the method they used. Know what method they used! Create evaluative mechanisms for how I should evaluate evidence in the policymaking sphere (i.e. default to empirics and studies) and then explain why your evidence meets those mechanisms. I definitely prefer an impact turn debate to a permutation debate, but do what you gotta do.

For the neg - link debate is very important, and contextualizing it within the context of the aff is even more crucial. Question the scholarship of their authors and press them on internal links and logical take-outs in cross-ex – I think the best way to get mileage on the K is to have credible defense against the aff because it proves their epistemology is fundamentally bankrupt.

Critical Affs: Please be very clear about what the role of the ballot is and how I should evaluate the debate. Also, I’m inclined to agree with Brian Manuel that you must defend something, even if you’re not defending the topic. Your position must be debatable. While I will vote on framework, I prefer a case turn debate, a PIC, or a K. Understandably, a specific strategy is not always possible when debating an aff that doesn’t defend the topic, and framework may sometimes be your best option.

Jacob Goldschlag Paradigm

6 rounds

Please add to the email chain

I have 8 years of policy debate experience: 4 years at the University of Michigan (class of 2019) and 4 years at La Costa Canyon HS (CA). Went to the NDT 3 times ('17-'19) and cleared twice. Formerly an assistant coach at Cypress Bay HS (FL). Currently in law school at the University of San Diego.

I am not super actively involved in debate anymore due to law school. Only judging occasionally.

In general I have few preferences on which arguments you read in front of me. More into judging slower debates with warranted presentation, quality evidence, and "truer" arguments than whatever the opposite of that is. During my time as a debater I mostly read "traditional" policy arguments and thus am most comfortable evaluating these kinds of debates. but, I have read and coached basically every kind of argument and try hard not to bring any predispositions with me.

Kritiks/Planless affs: I am comfortable with most common kritik arguments, but if yours is particularly esoteric you may need to invest some time in explaining your theory to me. Much more likely to vote for a K with specific links and clear clash with the aff than some "K trick" or whatever your best imitation of Michigan KM is. As far as planless affs, I judge a fair amount of "clash of civs" debates (in high school) and would guess my voting record is fairly even. As with everything else, I tend to vote for the side that has the best impact calc/largest point of offense. The biggest thing I notice in these rounds is debaters on both sides giving good, yet overly defensive speeches, and losing easily winnable debates. So be sure to explain your offense and the relevance of my ballot to solvency. In the interest of full disclosure, almost every time I was neg against a planless aff in college, I went for a T argument about procedural fairness. "It's T, not framework" is not meaningless to me (see Caitlin Walrath’s paradigm for elaboration. She explains these things more intelligently and in depth than I care to).

Theory/CPs: I would classify my views on this as "college debate default settings" - meaning I have a high threshold for most aff theory arguments. Usually, you are better off finding a different way to win the debate. I am not persuaded any arguments other than Conditionality are reasons to reject the team, and I am not persuaded by Conditionality unless the neg reads 3 or more. I find theory arguments to be most effective when explained as a reason to reject the argument against certain kinds of CPs (e.g. process CPs, International fiat, delay CPs, and more). If the CP is egregious theory can be very compelling. Judge kick fine by default, but persuadable the other way (I was a slow 2a, I get it).

No "inserting this re-highlighting into the debate" - you have to read it.

Good luck!

David Goldstein Paradigm

6 rounds

Conflicts: Cypress Bay High School; Pine Crest

Reading through this philosophy before your round will be very helpful.

tl;dr version:
I'm cool with mostly everything. Debate is a game. Tech>Truth. I haven't judged on this year's HS topic at all, so I don't know any of the topic-specific jargon/buzzwords. Large overviews are pointless. Prep time ends when the flash drive leaves the computer. Don't go for theory unless you have to. The team that wins framework usually wins the debate. Number your arguments in the 1NC/2AC, and respond to them accordingly.

I also agree with everything Calum Matheson says:

Full version:

I'll do my best to evaluate any and all arguments/styles fairly. That being said, no judge can be 100% tab, so here's how I view most things


Do you. Have fun. Learn something.

All arguments are regarded as true until they are answered. There really isn't any argument that I won't listen to. If you say "genocide is good" or "slavery is good" or something clearly immoral, I'll still evaluate it and the other team is still required to answer it. That being said, "genocide good" is pretty easy to answer, and if you can't easily explain why genocide is bad, there's a pretty good chance you wouldn't be able to win the debate anyway.

The role of the judge is clearly up for debate. If one team presents makes a claim on what the role of the judge is, and the other team does not answer it, my role is whatever the first team said it was. However, if no one makes an argument as to what the role of the judge is, I usually default to policy-maker. The same goes for the ballot. If no team makes a role of the ballot argument, the ballot is a determination of whether the plan is better than the status quo or a competitive alternative.

Clipping is cheating and you will lose the debate and earn 0 speaker points. Same goes for stealing files and lying about prep time.

Paperless issues:

While I fully embrace your right to read cards and files off your laptop, I prefer you flow on actual paper. I won't hold it against you if you chose to flow on your computer, but I will have no sympathy for you if your laptop crashes and you lose your flow.

All cards being read in the speech must be flashed to the other team before the speech begins. If you make a decision mid-speech to read a different card or if your partner brings you up something to read mid-speech, or you finish the 1AC with 45 seconds left and want to keep going, either flash the cards to the other team before the speech ends, or you have to use your own prep time afterward (before cross-x) to flash them the extra cards.

I already said this, but I want to emphasize it again. PREP TIME ENDS WHEN THE FLASH DRIVE LEAVES THE COMPUTER. If you say "stop prep", and the flash drive is still in your computer, I keep the prep clock going and you lose .1 speaker points.

Co-prepping is uncool. If your partner is bringing up a pre-typed couple of paragraphs for you to mindlessly read in the middle of your speech, I'll flow it, but I will not like it.

Unless the tournament rules prohibit it, feel free to use the Internet during the debate to look up stuff. However, if I find out that you are using the Internet to chat with your coach, you lose the debate and get 0 speaker points. But if you want to waste precious prep time to cut a card that you were too lazy to look for before the tournament, have at it.

If you aren't using some form of debate template on your computer, don't bother doing paperless. Verbatim is awesome.

If you and your partner are paperless, and the other team does not have a laptop, you have to provide the other team with a viewing computer. If you did not bring a viewing computer, one of your computers will have to be loaned to them.

Delete the other team's speech docs after the debate. Otherwise, you're stealing. Stealing is wrong.


While I'm definitely more comfortable judging "traditional"-style debates, I can be somewhat versatile. If you think that the best way to convey your arguments is through hip-hop, or reading narratives, or poetry, I'm not going to hold that against you. Just be prepared to defend your form as well as your content.

Speed is a double-edged sword. I can understand any speed, but I cannot understand you if you're unclear. If I cannot understand you, I will say "clear" once. If later on in that speech, I still cannot understand you, I put my pen down and stop flowing until you get the hint.

When it comes to theory/topicality/framework, you've got to slow down a bit. If you want me to get the nuance of your conditionality argument, I've got to be able to hear what you're saying.


Cross-x is a speech. I will flow it, and it matters. Every cross-x has a winner and a loser.

If you say "cross-x was embarrassing on this question" or some variant, you are probably making a fool of yourself. Cross-x is rarely embarrassing, and if it is, I already know that it was embarrassing.

Cross-x is a time for questions, not arguments. "You don't solve" is not a question. If you have an argument, you've got an 8 minute speech coming up that is perfect for it. Instead, use the cross-x to set up future arguments.

If you don't reference cross-x every speech after the 1AC, you probably didn't do the cross-x correctly.

Cross-x is binding unless I am told otherwise.


Evidence is good. If you have evidence for why breadth is better than depth in education, it'll take you far.

Reasonability is stupid. Like, really really stupid.

I view topicality the same way I view a counterplan debate. You have to win that your definition solves the standards, and you need a net benefit to your interpretation.

If you go for T in the 2NR and you DON'T spend 5 minutes on it, you will probably lose the debate.

I generally think that underlimiting is better than overlimiting, but I can be persuaded otherwise

An interpretation is not "abusive". It is "unfair" maybe. It could be "bad for debate". But it is not "abusive". Unless other team literally punched you during your speech, they did not abuse you.

I can go either way on conditionality. It's hard for me to vote against 1 K and 1 CP unless they are fiercely incompatible (e.g. Borders K + States CP or Cap K + Privatization CP). Multiple PICs are probably bad. Multi-plank conditionality is probably bad. More than 4 advocacies is almost definitely bad (but I can be persuaded otherwise).

2AC theory violations must have an interpretation (e.g. "They get 1 conditional advocacy").

If the 2AC rockets through 10 theory arguments and then the 1AR blows up on 1 small "independent voting issue" from 1 of the shells, you lose your ethos.

The team that wins framework most likely wins the debate. 

I'm very biased against framework arguments that go something like this: "Your aff doesn't have a plan text and I don't understand how to answer Ks so you should lose because it's unfair or something." Learn anthro.


I will not kick the counterplan for you. If you go for it in the 2nr, the only relevant comparison in the debate is between the counterplan and the plan. You don't get to also weigh the status quo against the plan as well. While it may be "logical" to consider the status quo, since the debate is a referendum on the plan's desirability, forcing the 2AR to defend against two possible alternatives to the plan (ie the cp and the squo) makes for bad debate. Also saying something is "logical" does not mean it's fair. It's logical for the plan to change halfway through the debate in order to avoid to the link to a disad, because that's how politics works, that doesn't make it fair.

Since you seem to have read pretty far into my philosophy, kudos. Here's your prize for reading this far: If you want an automatic .5 added to your speaker point total, use the word "sassafras" in one of your speeches. It will prove to me that you are a dedicated debater and know that it's always a good idea to research the judge before the debate. Now, back to other stuff.

There is a debate as to what types of counterplans are acceptable. I generally believe counterplans such as consult, conditions, recommendations, plan contingent counterplans or counterplans that compete off of certainty and immediacy are not competitive. I can be persuaded otherwise.

Spitting out as many generic perms as you can in 30 seconds is a bad move. If you throw out 10 perms in a row without any cards, I will not be able to flow them all. I will write down "fuckload of perms".


Don't assume I'm familiar with all of your literature. I'm familiar with most Ks, but if you're reading something WAY out of left field, just throwing out a pile of cards and assuming I'm an expert in your author will not bode well for you.

Floating PIKs are bad unless you mention (before the 2NR) that it's a floating PIK

If you don't understand your own literature, you will be punished both by your opponent and by me

Don't read some crazy rare K just to throw off your opponent. But, if you actually just LOVE Bataille, you do you.

I prefer a lot of impact comparison on k vs. plan debates.

Long-ass overviews are only acceptable if you're making actual arguments. Re-explaining something you said in your last speech will not earn you a ballot.

I could go on, but I'm far too lazy to write any more. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me before the round.

Ryan Gorman Paradigm

5 rounds

Just to give some context about my debate history: I debated for four years in high school with Dallas Jesuit. I went to Emory, but did not debate while I was there. While in college, I did occasional work for Jesuit and coached/judged at some national tournaments. After graduating, I spent two years coaching and judging at Jesuit before going to law school. I'm currently in my second year and have limited judging experience on this topic (several rounds at the Texas state tournament in March 2019).

Stylistic Preferences
Framing is good - explain why your links supersede the link-turns, why the solvency deficit on the counterplan means you win on disad mitigation, etc. Tell me how you want different parts of the flow (and different pages of the debate) to interact.

I get annoyed by bad highlighting - that is, highlighting that reduces sentences into fragments and phrases that don't coherently fit together. If your opponent reads a card that is severely under-highlighted, and tries to extend warrants that weren't actually in the highlighting, point that out - I'll be receptive.

My speaker point range is usually 28-29 - I find myself going above that more often than I do going below that. If you want good speaks: line-by-line, clash, and be fast but clear (and smart, but that should go without saying).

I like to be included on email chains. I don't scroll/read through the docs during speeches, unless I get worried about clipping cards.

Slow down. No, really. Slow. Down. Conditionality is probably good – multiple conditional worlds that contradict each other are probably less of a good thing. Most other theory arguments are probably a reason to reject the argument and not the team (yes, even if those blippy theory arguments are conceded) - maybe you can convince me otherwise. You should be talking about the impacts to your theoretical objection (or counter-interpretation) just as you would for any other argument.

When schools break a truly new Aff, they should not have to disclose anything about the substance of that Aff to the Negative before the round. I think that is a powerful incentive for people to innovate. It will be almost impossible for you to convince me otherwise. An Aff that is new to a particular pairing but that has been previously broken by another team from the same school is not "new."

At the end of the year, against Affs that have been run for awhile, Neg teams might need to focus more on why the particular Aff's un-topical-ness is bad (not necessarily in-round abuse, but a reason their Aff, and not necessarily what they justify, makes it harder for you to debate). Links and impacts should be discussed just as they would any other argument. I do not think that the limits debate is necessarily the most important standard. I default to competing interpretations (unless a compelling argument against that default can be won), so it is important that you talk about what other debates (not just your own) would look like under your interpretation (my earlier caveat about end-of-the-year debates changes this a bit). Evidence on topicality can be very useful and strategic, but is by no means necessary.

PICs and agent counterplans are usually okay – agent counterplans that play fast-and-loose with excessive amounts of fiat may be less okay. States counterplans are probably okay, especially if you have a solvency advocate.

I’m not the biggest fan of process counterplans, unless those counterplans come with evidence/a solvency advocate (preferably specific to the Aff). That said, a solvency advocate isn't a death knell to the Aff - if you think their process counterplan is bad for debate, tell me why.

All of the above is debatable. I'll vote for a counterplan I don't like if the Aff doesn't win.

As far as framework goes, Aff’s probably get to weigh the action of the plan. Links and impacts should be discussed (and labeled as such) just as they would for any other arguments. It’s probably important that the link is specific to the Aff – even better if you have multiple links specific to the Aff. It’s also probably important that your alternative solves the Aff harms, or at least makes some attempt to. The Negative should bring up and defend what they think the role-of-the-ballot should be.

Thoughts on "non-traditional"/"performance" Affs: Here's my starting point: I think plan texts are probably good, and that the Aff should probably engage (at least some of) the specifics of the topic/resolution. That said, I’m sympathetic to the need to have discussions in the debate space that don't necessary follow those criteria. But I’m also sympathetic to the Neg’s need to, frankly, have something predictable to debate against. Debate isn't just a platform for advocacy, and it isn't just a game - it's a little bit of both combined to make something else entirely. I think that Negatives going for framework or topicality against these types of Affirmatives can get a lot of mileage out of arguing either that there is a "topical" version of the Aff, or that switch-side debate solves. That said, I don't want this to dissuade you from running these Affs in front of me - but if your access point is something other than a plan text, and the pref sheet doesn't prevent me from judging you, I want you to know my usual leanings and still be able to win. I'll judge what gets debated in-round - if you win that your type of advocacy is needed (that your education is uniquely good and uniquely a product of what you're doing in the debate round) and not all that bad, you'll win the round (especially if the Neg isn't doing a good job contesting those points). Tell me why the topical version of the plan doesn't do the trick, tell me why the discussions the Neg wants us to have aren't important/useful, read some great literature that backs up your point of view, etc. Teach me something new - I'm here to learn, too.


Michael Greenbury Paradigm

2020 update

Not much experience on this topic

Been away from the scene for the past semester. Don't worry, I can still listen to speed, but you might want to assume I'm not fully aware of all the topic details.

I like K debate. Prefer poststructuralism or whatever you call it - would probably be what I have the most experience in. Performance debate is cool. Policy debate is good too, just not what I did for the most part. Good plans with solid solvency mechanisms vs intriguing CP/DAs are always engaging to judge for me but politics debates are boring so if you come with generics you better do it right. I consider myself open minded but I do find myself unpersuaded by the same generics FW args that teams have been reading since 2015. Try explaining things in new ways, using new words and examples. I will reward that.

almost all ideas are fair game, except those which offend or harm other people. please use common sense in this regard or I'll dock speaks.

2019 update

very few rounds on the policy topic, please explain any acronyms or details that one might assume a judge with experience on the topic would understand

speed is fine

argument flexibility is fine and good

focus on explaining things; less is more

”debate does not necessarily take the form of a disagreement; it can yield a more complex disimplication or displacement”

i don’t vote on things not In the final speeches

2017 for Stanford

Very few (<20) rounds on the topic. Mostly policy, weirdly, but it's been three months. Please explain any terms (locations, documents, events, concepts, etc.) that may require more experience.

Aside: the term high theory now for me demonstrates the general implosion of meaning.

Out of competition since last season. Everything below still true, with the caveat that my appreciation for the the decorum and the ethos of debate has diminished. I think you can interpret that how you want. Creativity and clarity are awarded with speaker points.

Lastly the authors of flavor for the rhetoric department are Schmitt, Heidegger, and Hegel. Please do not read a critique of Bildung.

2016 Update

About two dozen total rounds on the 2015-2016 HS topic. Mostly on the non-topic but plenty of K affs with plans and a few policy debates.

I do and prefer K debate for the most part, but I am still interested in hearing policy arguments. I understand and like them, at times.

I vote on T/FW, but I think most teams would be helped by substantive and explicated impact calc vs the aff, articulating a strong T version solves arg, etc. You can't just extend T like you would in front of a judge who ideologically prefers your args.

If you're too fast I might ask you to slow down. You should do you. Within reason, try to offend me.

Most familiar in high theory arguments: afropessimist, feminist, queer theory, and Marxist-derivative literatures. I sort of major in critical theory at Berkeley so sometimes I just happen to know a lot about Ranciere or Edward Said depending on the semester.

Feel free to ask any other questions.

Gerard Grigsby Paradigm

6 rounds

I have been involved with Policy Debate since 1981, when I debated in High School in Arizona. I debated NDT for Arizona State in the late 80s, and have been coaching High School debate teams in Arizona, Wisconsin & California for a total of 23 years (off & on) starting in 1986. I coached Policy Debate most recently at Lowell High School in San Francisco from 2012-2016. I worked the 2001-2003 Stanford & Berkeley debate camps. I am Tabula Rasa, but default to Policy Making-I enjoy all aspects of the game, The K, The Counterplan-Disad debate, Case Turns, T whatever, it's all fair game. I do have a higher than average likelihood to pull the trigger on theory arguments if you develop them and win them (conditionality, pics, international actors etc.). Ultimately I think that virtually everything is debateable including the nature and function of the activity itself-that being said you will have an uphill battle the more aggressively anti-norm you get with me. I.E. I think that the affirmative should defend the Resolution, not attack it. Affirmatives without plans are fine, but not my preference. If you read an Aff without a plan I think you should read some Solvency cards for whatever performative experiment you are conducting. Speed is fine, be as loud & clear as possible. I prefer longer, more highly explanatory cards than a slew of 1 line cards, but also understand the tactical utility of the short card in high school debate-just be aware that I do tend to read a few cards after the round, so if you have a crucial argument that you need to win, read the long card. I love to see integrated strategies that are coherent and well-evidenced-love aggressive (but not obnoxious) smart, fast debaters. If you have any specific or more nuanced questions please let me know pre-round and I will answer them. Email chain to

Max Groznik Paradigm

6 rounds

When in doubt, read the argument you believe in the most. Or a children's story.

Quick Thoughts:

Teams that engage directly with thesis level questions and the warrant level substance of arguments are likely to be rewarded more than strategic choices more dependent on debating around the other team (Yes I’ll still vote on spec, but now may not be the time to be reading McTaggart).

Generally, I don’t think there’s a meaningful distinction between most types of arguments. I don’t care what you read, and I care even less what you call it. I’ll sit in the back of the room and cheerfully flow your speech regardless of its content. I’ll try to keep as tight a flow as possible, but what I do with that is up to you. If you want to avoid decisions that feel rife with intervention contextualize how warrants interact and tell me the order in which I should prioritize and evaluate them while making my decision. Absent this, we’ll probably all be a little annoyed and confused.

My strongest argument preference is novelty. I’ll be ecstatic if you teach me something. Also jokes are neat. If you prioritize having fun, we will probably all have more fun. I think we'd like to have fun.

My second strongest argument preference is the Impact turn.

So is my third.

Pet Peeves and Idiosyncrasies:

Regarding presumption: I am not Buridan's Ass.

Debate fills different roles in different peoples lives: employment, education, competition, inward journeys, etc. Most importantly it is a platform from which you can demand to be taken seriously - respect that and engage in debate with grace.

The permutation is not offense. I will vote on offense if presented with the opportunity to.


"Max's brain is like a game of chutes and ladders" - Fiker Tesfaye

“Hello, Max is a smart cookie who writes really fast and thinks pretty well. He will hear your words and think about them and maybe you'll win.” - Eliana Taylor

“The thing about a good recliner is that is has to both be firm enough for back support, but cushy enough for butt comfort. the ability to recline is a necessary component for any sustainable home living.” - Cody Gustafson

“Max's life goal is to eat every animal.” - Alex Li

“Debate is like a clock, both teams make circular arguments. by the time the minute hand returns to where it started, everything was said, and none of it matters” - Chris Miles

Specifics for formats that feature evidence:

-I believe that well researched argumentation is one of the largest benefits of carded debate, likewise I am extremely willing to call for cards at the end of a round; if you ask me to read a card I will read it. Don't power cut evidence, don't misrepresent evidence, don't clip cards.

-I really like advantage counter-plan/impact turn strategies

-I really like nuanced arguments that delve into mechanism debates and rigorous debates about methodology (both for determine validity of empiric data and underpinnings of ideological positions). I think this is something that is uniquely possible in carded debate and should be taken full advantage of.

Andy Gu Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Sam Haley-Hill Paradigm

2 rounds


I've been around a long time. I've seen a lot of conventional wisdom come and go. I don't always agree with the consensus of the moment. Be fast, be clear, read a K and/or a counterplan.

Remote Debates:

I flow on paper and actually make an effort to watch you and listen to the words you are saying. It's hard to give speaker points to a glowing dot, so turn on your camera when speaking if possible. I will not follow the speech doc as you are talking, so be clear.

Want to be on the email chain? - Yes, but know that I won't look at the docs until the debate is over.

Please send docs to:

Speed? - Yes

Open CX? - Sure, but if you aren't involved somewhat, your speaker points suffer.

When does prep time stop? - When you cease to alter your speech doc and to talk about the debate with your partner.

Judge Disclosure - Unless the tournament has some terrible counter-educational policy preventing it (looking at you, NCFL).

Can I read (X argument)? Yes, if it's not hideously offensive.

T? - Reasonability (whew - really feels good to be honest there)

Will you vote on disclosure theory? - No. Disclosure is a good community norm which I support, but I do not think ballots can or should enforce this norm. The exception would be if you can prove that someone straight up lied to you.

Tech over truth? - Yes, but I think people often take this way too far.



Years Judging: 14
Years Debated: 4

I debated for four years in high school for Nevada Union (1998-2002) during which time I made two TOC appearances. I did not debate for Berkeley during my time there, but I was an assistant coach for the College Preparatory School from 2002-2006. After that, I was off the circuit for a few years because I moved to Hong Kong for a year and then went to graduate school. 2010-2011 was my first year back. I worked for New Trier for a year after that and at Nevada Union from 2011-2012. After that I went back to CPS for three more years. I then spent four years running the program at St. Francis. I now work with the Washington Urban Debate League as a volunteer. I have judged a lot for a long time.

Tech Over Truth - This is not dogma

I think that the phrase "tech over truth" is just as vacuous as its inverse, "truth over tech." I honestly have no idea what either of these slogans is trying to say, but I do know that people who repeat either of them incessantly tend to make decisions that I don't get.

"Tech" is just as subjective as "truth" because whether someone's embedded clash has answered something, whether an argument has a warrant, whether someone has explained something enough to have extended it, etc. are all judgement calls at some level anyhow.

I think that dropped arguments are conceded. I think that I should refrain from dismissing arguments that I don't agree with. I think that arguments which I think are bad should still win the debate if the debater advancing them has argued better than the opponent. I guess that's tech over truth?

At the same time, I am the kind of judge who thinks that one compelling, well-developed argument can be more important than three specious, underdeveloped ones. I don't think that the concession of a less significant argument necessarily outweighs a more significant argument that is won despite contestation. Is that truth over tech? Is this whole tech vs. truth binary kind of pointless?

My bumper sticker slogan would be something like: "Analysis over blips."

Speaker Points - No, you can't have a 30.

It used to go without saying that I award speaker points solely based on how well I feel the debaters performed in each round. These days, it seems that I need to say that I will continue to do this regardless of what anyone else does and regardless of what debaters tell me to do during the debate.

I think that there's a performative/communicative aspect to this activity. Speak persuasively and your points will improve.

Try to be nice.

Judge Disclosure - I do it.

I'll disclose my decision and talk about the round with you in depth afterwards. I remember getting a lot out of post-round discussions when I was a debater, and I hope I can pass something along. If your analytics are in your speech docs for my later reference, I'll even give you my flows.

Speed - Go ahead, but be clear

I can flow any rate of delivery.

Lately, someone out there has been telling high school debaters to slow down and emphasize tags. Stop it, whoever you are. This advice implies that I don't care about the text of the card. In fact, I care about how you tagged the card far, far less than I care about what the text of the card actually says. When you slow down for the tag, but slosh unintelligably through the card, you are implying that I can't understand high speed and that the actual card text is a mere formality. If this is so, you may as well just paraphrase the card like a PF debater.

Believe it or not, I actually can understand your card at high speeds if you read it clearly. I'm actually flowing what the card says. Often as not, I won't flow your (often misleading) tag at all.

I'll yell "clear" at you if you're not being clear. I'll do this twice before putting my pen down and pointedly glaring at you.

Line By Line - Please and Thank You

I'll look at evidence, sure, but I will be grumpy if you make me sort out a huge rat's nest of implied and unexplained clash for you. I am a believer in directly responsive line-by-line debate. I think that explaining warrants is good, but comparing warrants is better.

Framework - Can't we all just get along?

I am one of the last folks out there who won't take a side. I vote neg on framework sometimes; I vote aff on framework sometimes. I think framework debates are kind of fundamental to the activity. I'm up for any kind of argument. I love a good K debate, but I'm equally pleased to adjudicate a game of competing policy options. Run what you love. In my heart, I probably don't care if there's a plan text, but I'll vote for theory arguments demanding one if the better debating is done on that side. Please don't read offensive/amoral arguments.

Conditionality - Yeah, sure, whatever

I think one or two conditional CP's and a K is just fine. You can win a debate on conditionality being more permissive than that or being bad altogether. I won't intervene.

T - I am different from the folks at Michigan

I think that winning complete or nearly complete defense on T is sufficient for the aff even in a world of competing interpretations. If the aff meets, they meet. I'm unlikely to give this RFD: "Even though you're winning a we meet, the neg interpretation is better, so any risk that you don't meet etc etc." Ever since someone told me back in 1999 that T should be evaluated like a DA, I have not agreed. It's a procedural issue, not a predictive claim about the consequences of implementing a policy. As such, I evaluate T procedurally. Whether or not the aff meets is a binary question, not a linear risk.

I think sometimes people think that "competing interpretations" means "the smallest interpretation should win." To me, smallest is not necessarily best. Sure, limits are a big deal, but there is such a thing as over-limiting. There are also other concerns that aren't limits per se, like education, ground, and predictability.

I can be persuaded otherwise in a debate, but I think we should evaluate T through the lens of reasonability.

Open Cross Ex - Yeah

Just make sure that you're involved somewhat or I'll hammer your speaks.

Disclosure theory

Stop it. People choose to disclose as a courtesy. It is not and should not be a requirement. I tell all my teams to disclose. I think you should disclose. If you choose not to, so be it.

If you make a disclosure theory argument, I will ignore you until you move on to something else. I will never vote on a disclosure theory argument, even if it is not answered.

I always find it sadly hilarious when big, brand-name programs tell me that disclosure is good for small schools. It most definitely is not. The more pre-round prep becomes possible, the more that coaching resources can be leveraged to influence debates. That's why the most well-resourced programs tend to be the most aggressive about disclosure theory.

New Affs

New affs are fine. I will not consider arguments which object to them, even if the aff team never answers such arguments.

Nathaniel Hall Paradigm

6 rounds

Hello, my name is Nate. I have been a part of the UC Berkeley and Westminster Schools' debate teams.

I prefer articulate speaking to spreading at full clip, especially if you are unable to clearly pronounce everything beyond the tagline, I devalue evidence if I cannot understand it while it's being read.

I don't enjoy judging topicality or theory.

I like K's with specific links/analysis. I will vote for any argument, but framework and link debates do play important roles in my decision. If you are going for the K, please maintain good tech. Line-by-lines are important for K debates as it helps organize flow. Signposting during a k speech is really helpful.

I love hard hitting, aff-specific case turns. Solid Da/Cp strategies are also good.

Impact debates matter: I value logic AND persuasion, not just speed. Give me a ballin' 2nr/2ar overview.

I will vote against you if you clip cards.


There are usually 3-4 arguments that win or lose a debate. I'm not going to do the work to figure out what those are, you have to tell me.


And most importantly: have fun! While debates can be intense remember that it's all friendly competition. No reason to be rude.

Brock Hanson Paradigm

6 rounds

Brock Hanson

Precious Assistant coach, Rowland Hall St. Marks — five years

Debating Experience

High school - Three years, Nationally

Policy Debate

Role as judge in debate — I attempt to enter debates with as little preconcieved notion about my role as possible. I am open to being told how to evaluate rounds, be it an educator, policymaker, etc. Absent any instruction throughout the round, I will most likely default to a role as a policymaker.

Purpose of philosophy — I see this philosophy as a tool to be used by debaters to help modify or fine-tune specific parts of their strategies in round. I don’t think that this philosophy should be a major reason to change a 1AC/1NC, but more used to understand how to make the round as pleasant as possible.

Evaluative practices and views on debate round logistics

Prep time — Prep ends when the flash drive leaves the computer/when the speech-email has been sent. I expect debaters to keep track of their own prep time, but I will usually keep prep as well to help settle disagreements

Evidence — I would like to be included in any email chain used for the round using the email address below. I will read un-underlined portions of evidence for context, but am very apprehensive to let them influence my decision, unless their importance is identified in round.

Speaker point range — 27.0 - 30. Speaker points below a 27 indicate behavior that negatively affected the round to the point of being offensive/oppressive.

How to increase speaker points — Coherence, enthusiasm, kindness, and the ability to display an intimate knowledge of your arguments/evidence. Cross-ex is an easy way to earn speaker points in front of me - I enjoy enthusiastic and detailed cross-ex and see it as a way to show familiarity with arguments.

How to lose speaker points — Being excessively hostile, aggressive, overpowering, or disengaged.

Clarity — I will say ‘Clear’ mid-speech if I’m unable to understand you. I will warn you twice before I begin subtracting speaker points and stop flowing - I will attempt to make it obvious that I’ve stopped flowing in a non-verbal manner (setting down my pen, etc.) but will not verbally warn you.

Argumentative predispositions and preferences

Affirmatives - I don’t think affirmatives should be inherently punished for not reading a plan text, as long as they justify why they do it. I am probably more interested in ‘non-traditional’ affirmatives than a big-stick Heg aff.

Counter-Plans — Speeding through a 20-second, catch-all, 7 plank, agent counter-plan text will not be received well in front of me. However, super-specific counter-plans (say, cut from 1AC solvency evidence) are a good way to encourage debates that result in high speaker points.

Disadvantages — Specific, well articulated DA debate is very appealing to me, but super-generics like spending are a bit boring absent an aff to justify them as the primary strategy.

Framework — Engagement > Exclusion. The topic can be a stasis point for discussion, but individuals may relate to it in very different ways. (See Role as judge in debate)

Kritiks — Easily my 'comfort-zone' for debates, both for the affirmative and negative. Creativity in this area is very appealing to me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that whoever reads the best poetry automatically wins. Be smart and articulate about your arguments, and make it seem like you care about what you're talking about. The 'K’s are cheating and so they should lose' -esque arguments aren’t especially compelling, but if you can intelligently explain why the hippy-anarchists sitting across from you should go back to their coffee shops and beat-poetry, I'll vote on it. Performance as a method of supporting arguments is welcomed and enjoyable insofar as it is grounded in arguments.

Theory — I think specific, contextualized Theory arguments are much more persuasive than generic, broad-sweeping theory claims. Spending 5 minutes on Theory in a rebuttal does not grant you an instant ballot, inversely,15 seconds of blippy violations it at the end of the debate makes it difficult to pull the trigger absent blatant concessions. I’m more comfortable and better versed in regards to theory arguments than with topicality. I am very persuaded by arguments against performative contradiction. I understand the strategic utility of having multiple lines of offence in a 1NC, but would prefer to evaluate 1NC’s holistically as a constant thought.

Topicality — Topicality is perhaps where I’m least experienced from an argument standpoint, and thus don’t particularly enjoy topicality debates, I do, however understand its utility against blatantly abusive affirmative. In-round abuse is more persuasive than potential abuse.

Feel free to ask before round or email me if you have any questions

Brock Hanson

Allison Harper Paradigm

4 rounds

Associate Director of Debate at Emory University and Assistant Coach at North Broward Preparatory School. Previously Samford, George Mason University

Cosmetic rather than structural change- yes please put me on the chain for efficiency and scouting purposes. I am still unlikely to follow along with the doc or read cards I don't think are necessary to make a decision but spelling my first name is annoying and this was buried near the bottom. I know you didn't read my philosophy if you ask if I want to be on the chain.

I think I am a relatively middle of the road judge on most issues. I would rather hear you debate whatever sort of strategy you do well than have you conform to my argumentative preferences. I might have more fun listening to a case/da debate, but if you best strat or skillset is something else, go for it. I might not like an argument, but I will and have voted for arguments I hate if it wins the debate. I do have a pretty strong preference for technical, line by line style debate.

I am open to listening to kritiks by either side, but I am more familiar with policy arguments, so some additional explanation would be helpful, especially on the impact and alternative level. High theory K stuff is the area where I am least well read. I generally think it is better for debate if the aff has a topical plan that is implemented, but I am open to hearing both sides. To be successful at framework debates in front of me, it is helpful to do more than articulate that your movement/project/affirmation is good, but also provide reasons why it is good to be included in debate in the format you choose. I tend to find T version of the aff a pretty persuasive argument when it is able to solve a significant portion of aff offense.

I don’t have solid preferences on most counterplan theory issues, other than that I am not crazy about consultation or conditions cps generally. Most other cp issues are questions of degree not kind (1 conditional cp and a k doesn’t seem so bad, more than that is questionable, 42 is too many, etc) and all up for debate. The above comment about doing what you do well applies here. If theory is your thing and you do it well, ok. If cp cheating with both hands is your style and you can get away with it, swell.

I have no objection to voting on “untrue” arguments, like some of the more out there impact turns. To win on dropped arguments, you still need to do enough work that I could make a coherent decision based on your explanation of the argument. Dropped = true, but you need a claim, warrant, and impact. Such arguments also need to be identifiable in order for dropped = true to apply.

It’s rarely the case that a team wins every argument in the debate, so including relevant and responsive impact assessment is super important. I’d much rather debaters resolve questions like who has presumption in the case of counterplans or what happens to counterplans that might be rendered irrelevant by 2ar choices than leaving those questions to me.

I try my best to avoid reading evidence after a debate and think debaters should take this into account. I tend to only call for evidence if a) there is a debate about what a card says and/or b) it is impossible to resolve an issue without reading the evidence myself. I prefer to let the debaters debate the quality of evidence rather than calling for a bunch of evidence and applying my own interpretations after the fact. I think that is a form of intervening. I also think it is important that you draw out the warrants in your evidence rather than relying on me to piece things together at the end of the debate. As a result, you would be better served explaining, applying, and comparing fewer really important arguments than blipping through a bunch of tag line/author name extensions. I can certainly flow you and I will be paying attention to your speeches, but if the debate comes down to a comparison between arguments articulated in these manners, I tend to reward explanation and analysis. Also, the phrase "insert re-highlighting" is meaningless to someone who isn't reading the docs in real time. Telling me what you think the evidence says is a better use of your time

I like smart, organized debates. I pay a ton of attention and think I flow very well. I tend to be frustrated by debaters who jump around or lack structure. If your debate is headed this direction (through your own doing or that of the other team), often the team that cleans things up usually benefits. This also applies to non-traditional debating styles. If you don’t want to flow, that’s ok, but it is not an excuse to lack any discernible organization. Even if you are doing the embedded clash thing, your arguments shouldn't seem like a pre-scripted set of responses with little to no attempt to engage the specific arguments made by the other team or put them in some sort of order that makes it easier for me to flow and determine if indeed arguments were made, extended dropped, etc.

Please be nice to each other. While debate is a competitive activity, it is not an excuse to be a jerkface. If you are "stealing prep" I am likely to be very cross with you and dock your speaker points. If you are taking unreasonably long amounts of time to jump/email your docs or acquire someone else's docs, I am also not going to be super happy with you. I realize this can sound cranky, but I have been subjected to too many rounds where this has been happening recently.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Thoughts on Pf and LD:

Since I occasionally judge these, I thought I should add a section. I have either coached or competed in both events. I still have a strong preference for flow-centric debate in both activities.

-You may speak as quickly or slowly as you would like. Don't make yourself debate faster than you are able to do well just because I can keep up

-You can run whatever arguments you are able to justify (see policy debate section if you have more specific questions)

-Too many debates in these events spend far too much time debating framing questions that are essentially irrelevant to judge decisions. Those frames mean little if you cant win a link. If you and your opponent are trying to access the same impact, this is a sign that you should be debating link strength not impact strength.

-Provide means of comparing arguments. It is not helpful if you have a study and your opponent has a study that says the opposite and that is the end of the argument. It is not helpful if everyone's authors are "hacks." With complicated topics, try to understand how your authors arrived at their conclusions and use that to your advantage.

-Stop stealing prep. Seriously. Stop. It is not cute. Asking to see a source is not an opportunity for your partners to keep prepping. If a speech timer or a prep timer isn't going, you should not be writing on your flows or doing anything else that looks like prepping. I see this in a disturbing number of PF rounds. Stop

-Give a useful road map or none at all. Do not add a bunch of commentary. A road map should tell a judge what order to put pieces of flow paper into and nothing more. Save your arguments for your speech time.

Mark A. Hernandez Sr. Paradigm

6 rounds


Y'all know me, still the same O.G. but I been low-key

Hated on by most these niggas with no cheese, no deals and no G's

No wheels and no keys, no boats, no snowmobiles, and no skis

Mad at me cause I can finally afford to provide my family with groceries

Got a crib with a studio and it's all full of tracks to add to the wall

Full of plaques, hanging up in the office in back of my house like trophies

Did y'all think I'mma let my dough freeze, ho please

You better bow down on both knees, who you think taught you to smoke trees

Who you think brought you the oldies

Eazy-E's, Ice Cubes, and D.O.C's

The Snoop D-O-double-G's

And the group that said motherfuck the police

Gave you a tape full of dope beats

To bump when you stroll through in your hood

And when your album sales wasn't doing too good

Who's the Doctor they told you to go see

Y'all better listen up closely, all you niggas that said that I turned pop

Or The Firm flopped, y'all are the reason that Dre ain't been getting no sleep

So fuck y'all, all of y'all, if y'all don't like me, blow me

Y'all are gonna keep fucking around with me and turn me back to the old me

Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say

But nothing comes out when they move their lips

Just a bunch of gibberish

And motherfuckers act like they forgot about Dre

Line by line:

Recently retired from the debate world but I still privately coach a few select debaters to keep a foot in the water. I love debate and come back to judge from time to time. Experienced former debater. Previous coach for CK McClatchy, Rosemont, Davis Senior, and others. I am the former Executive Director and founder of the Sacramento Urban Debate League (SUDL). I've judged a ton of rounds on all levels of policy debate and feel in-depth and informative verbal RFD's are key to debate education.

I will adapt to you rather than you to me. It's not my place as a judge to exclude or marginalize any sort of argument or framework. On the neg, I will vote for K/K + case, T, CP + DA, DA + case, FW/FW + case, performance, theory.... whatever. I personally prefer hearing a good K or theory debate, not that I'm more inclined to vote on those genres of argumentation. I am down for the K, performance, or topical aff. Anything goes with me.

I'm big on organization. Hit the line by line hard. Don't just give me 3 min overviews or read a bunch of cards off the line, then expect me to conveniently find the best place on the flow for you. Do the work for me. I flow on paper OG style, so don't drop arguments. I don't flow off speech docs (neither should you), but put me on the email chain so I can read cards along with you and refer back to them. I can handle any level of speed, but please be clear and loud if possible.

I will work hard to make the debate accessible and a safe place for you and your arguments. If you have access needs during a debate, wish to inform me of your preferred gender pronoun, or if there is anything you wish to communicate privately, please let me know or send me an email.

My judging philosophy is very short for a reason. Its your debate, not mine. Do you. Just stay organized and tell me where and why to vote. Write my ballot in your 2NR/2AR.

Aarash Heydari Paradigm

I am a former policy debater from Harrisonburg, Virginia. I am now a former ghost-member for the Cal Policy debate team.

I try to go by the flow. I like strong links.

I am open to any types of arguments.

Be thorough in your explication.

I prefer debates with clash. Why should you win the debate? Be sure to have a mix of offense and defense.

John Hines Paradigm

1 rounds

John Hines
College Prep Policy Debate Coach
20+ Years Judging/Coaching


Line by line debate is actually a thing. Its a skill not a referendum on you as a person or what I think about your arguments. Its a method of clash that allows judges to decide rounds with minimum intervention on their part. If your approach to debating line-by-line includes extensive overviews, "cloud clash," and requests for me to pull out new sheets of paper I am probably not a very good judge for you. I will do my best to evaluate the round in front of me, but if you chose to abandon the line by line please know that you have asked me to insert my subjective views of debate in to the round and you are not likely to be happy with the outcome.

Standard philosophy begins here:
Rather than list off a series of personal beliefs about arguments, an explanation of how I decide debates seems more productive. Three keys to debating well in front of me:

1. Make Arguments. I tend to decide debates within 20 minutes of the end of the round. I will call for VERY few cards after the debate as I prefer to make my decision based upon what you argued in the last rebuttals rather than what I think about the quality of your cards. I will not re-read every card read in the debate. I will not read portions of evidence not read in the round by debaters. I will not read cards handed to me that were not extended in the last two rebuttals. I will resolve arguments consisting of disputes over interpretation of warrants in evidence by reading those cards. I will make sure arguments extended in the last two rebuttals can be traced back across the flow to the point they originated. I will make sure cards handed to me were extended properly during the debate before reading them. I will keep a careful flow of the debate and will do my best to vote based upon warranted arguments extended throughout the debate. Your job is to speak clearly and coherently and to dispute the warrants within your opponents’ arguments with analysis and evidence.

2. Make Choices. Most debates come down to a couple of key issues which need to be resolved by me; awareness of these nexus issues and ability to clarify how they should be resolved is the key to your success. Does the perm on the CP avoid the links to the net-benefits? Does the solvency deficit to the counter-plan outweigh the net-benefits? Who controls the question of uniqueness (both at the link and impact level)? Can the alternative to the criticism function simultaneously with the plan? I prefer to intervene as little as humanly possible. Your ability to accurately frame the nexus issues of the debate for me will reduce the need for me to resolve these questions for you and make me a much happier judge.

3. Don’t be a Jerk. As Ed Lee of Emory says in his most recent Judge Philosophy--"Respect is non-negotiable for me". I work VERY HARD as a judge. I flow on paper, I generally keep my computer closed the entire debate and I try to pay very close attention to everything you say. I spend time constructing my post-round discussion to be clear, concise and educational. I do not take kindly to debaters or coaches who wish to interrupt and argue with me before I've reached the conclusion of my RFD. I promise to give you plenty of time to ask productive follow-up questions. Lately I've become even more concerned with in-round comity. Rudeness and snide remarks during cross-ex, insulting the intelligence and good will of the other team and other derisive and insulting behavior towards opponents will not be tolerated. To once again quote Ed - "If you are engaging your opponent in a way that you would not if you were in front of one of your professors [teachers] or the president of your university [principal/head of school] then you should not do it in front of me." I love seeing passionate engagement with argument, but quickly become physically uncomfortable when passion turns into hostility. If you are confused as to where this line resides watch my will be very obvious.

Finally, on the question of "What kinds of arguments do you prefer" I'll answer by agreeing with Jarrod Atchison on the importance of FLEXIBILITY as a debater. To quote his ballot from a recent NDT final round "Debater flex is the past, present, and the future":

Jarrod ATCHISON, Director of Debate and Assistant Professor of Speech and Drama at Trinity University (Incoming DOF at Wake Forrest), 2008
[Judge Ballot from the Final Round of the 2008 National Debate Tournament, Available Online at, Accessed 03-16-2010]

7. Debater Flex is the wave of the future: I would have loved to have been a part of the Dartmouth coaching staff and squad when they were brainstorming a negative strategy for this debate. Although they had an extremely limited amount of time, they had two fantastic debaters in Josh and Kade that could execute a wide range of arguments leaving no option unavailable. In this debate, they had two case specific counterplans, a well developed kritik, two topicality arguments, etc…This debate reminded me that debaters who self identify as “policy” or “kritik” are missing out on a wide range of ways to win. Forget the labels, just think of everything as an argument. Some arguments require more understanding than others, but they are just arguments. If you want to be able to take on a new high tech aff with less than 45 minutes of prep before the final round of the NDT, the last thing that you want to tell your coach/partner is “I can’t argue __.” Debater flex is the past, present, and the future and I hope that students will see Josh and Kade’s 1NC as an example of how important it is to be versatile.

Kevin Hirn Paradigm

6 rounds

Program Manager and Debate Coach, University of Michigan

Debate Coach, Whitney Young High School (2010-20), Caddo Magnet (2020-)

Last updated: September, 2020

Philosophy: I attempt to judge rounds with the minimum amount of intervention required to answer the question, "Who has done the better debating?", using whatever rubrics for evaluating that question that debaters set up.

I work in debate full-time, so I attend a billion tournaments and judge a ton of debates, lead a seven week lab every summer, talk about debate virtually every day, and research fairly extensively. As a result, I'm familiar with the policy and critical literature bases on both the college space topic and the HS arms sales topic.

I’ve coached my teams to deploy a diverse array of argument types and styles. Currently, I coach teams that primarily read policy arguments. But I was also the primary argument coach for Michigan KM from 2014-16, I currently coach a team at Michigan that reads primarily "high theory" arguments, and I’ve coached many teams that focused primarily on critical theory and critical race literature (including multiple TOC qualifiers, TOC elims participants). I'm always excited to see debaters deploy new or innovative strategies across the argumentative spectrum.

Impact turns have a special place in my heart. There are few venues in academia or life where you will be as encouraged to challenge conventional wisdom as you are in policy debate, so please take this rare opportunity to persuasively defend the most counter-intuitive positions conceivable.

My philosophy is very long. I make no apology for it. In fact, I wish most philosophies were longer and more substantive. Frequently, judges espouse a series of platitudes, but I have no idea why they believe whatever it is they've said (which can frequently leave me confused, frustrated, and little closer to understanding how debaters could better persuade them).

What follows is a series of thoughts that mediate my process for making decisions. I've tried to be as honest as possible, and I frequently update my philosophy to reflect perceived trends in my judging. That being said, self-disclosure is inevitably incomplete or misleading; if you're curious about whether or not I'd be good for you, feel free to look at my voting record or email me a specific question (reach me at khirn (at) umich (dot) edu, although you may want to try in person because I'm not the greatest with quick responses).

1) Tech v. Truth

I attempt to be an extremely "technical" judge, although I am not sure that everyone means what everyone else means when they describe debating or judging as "technical." Here's what I mean by that: I attempt to flow everything that every speaker says in a speech. Even in extremely quick debates, I generally achieve this goal (although if a debater is going at max speed in a final rebuttal, it is virtually impossible to organize all of the words said by the rebuttalist into the argumentative structure they were intending). I will take Casey Harrigan up on his flowing gauntlet/challenge any day (he might be able to take me if we were both restricted to paper, but on laptop it's a wrap).

In addition, being "technical" means that I line up arguments on my flow, and expect debaters to, in general, organize their speeches by answering the other team's arguments in the order they were presented. All other things being equal, I will prioritize an argument presented such that it maximizes clear and direct engagement with its counter-argument over an argument that floats in space unmoored to an adversarial argument structure.

I do have one caveat that pertains to what I'll term "standalone" voting issues. I'm not likely to decide an entire debate based on standalone issues explained or extended in five seconds or less. For example, If you have a standard on conditionality that asserts "also, men with curly unkempt hair are underrepresented in debate, vote neg to incentivize our participation," and the 1ar drops it, you're not going to win the debate on that argument (although you will win my sympathies, fellow comb dissident). I'm willing to vote on basically anything that's well-developed, but if your strategy relies on tricking the other team into dropping random nonsense unrelated to the rest of the debate entirely, I'm not really about that. This caveat only pertains to standalone arguments that are dropped once: if you've dropped a standalone voting issue presented as such in two speeches, you've lost all my sympathies to your claim to a ballot.

In most debates, so many arguments are made that obvious cross-applications ensure precious few allegedly "dropped" arguments really are accurately described as such. Dropped arguments most frequently win debates in the form of little subpoints making granular distinctions on important arguments that both final rebuttals exert time and energy trying to win. Further murkiness emerges when one realizes that all thresholds for what constitutes a "warrant" (and subsequently an "argument") are somewhat arbitrary and interventionist. Hence the mantra: Dropped arguments are true, but they're only as true as the dropped argument. "Argument" means claim, warrant, and implication. "Severance is a voting issue" lacks a warrant. "Severance is a voting issue - neg ground" also arguably lacks a warrant, since it hasn't been explained how or why severance destroys negative ground or why neg ground is worth caring about.

That might sound interventionist, but consider: we would clearly assess the statement "Severance is a voting issue -- purple sideways" as a claim lacking a warrant. So why does "severence is a voting issue - neg ground" constitute a warranted claim? Some people would say that the former is valid but not sound while the latter is neither valid nor sound, but both fail a formal test of validity. In my assessment, any distinction is somewhat interventionist. In the interest of minimizing intervention, here is what that means for your debating: If the 1ar drops a blippy theory argument and the 2nr explains it further, the 2nr is likely making new arguments... which then justifies 2ar answers to those arguments. In general, justify why you get to say what you're saying, and you'll probably be in good shape. By the 2nr or 2ar, I would much rather that you acknowledge previously dropped arguments and suggest reasonable workaround solutions than continue to pretend they don't exist or lie about previous answers.

Arguments aren't presumptively offensive or too stupid to require an answer. Genocide good, OSPEC, rocks are people, etc. are all terribly stupid, but if you can't explain why they're wrong, you don't deserve to win. If an argument is really stupid or really bad, don't complain about how wrong they are. After all, if the argument's as bad as you say it is, it should be easy. And if you can't deconstruct a stupid argument, either 1) the argument may not be as stupid as you say it is, or 2) it may be worthwhile for you to develop a more efficient and effective way of responding to that argument.

If both sides seem to assume that an impact is desirable/undesirable, and frame their rebuttals exclusively toward avoiding/causing that impact, I will work under that assumption. If a team read a 1AC saying that they had several ways their plan caused extinction, and the 1NC responded with solvency defense and alternative ways the plan prevented extincton, I would vote neg if I thought the plan was more likely to avoid extinction than cause it.

2) General Philosophical Disposition

It is somewhat easy to persuade me that life is good, suffering is bad, and we should care about the consequences of our political strategies and advocacies. I would prefer that arguments to the contrary be grounded in specific articulations of alternative models of decision-making, not generalities, rhetoric, or metaphor. It's hard to convince me that extinction = nbd, and arguments like "the hypothetical consequences of your advocacy matter, and they would likely produce more suffering than our advocacy" are far more persuasive than "take a leap of faith" or "roll the dice" or "burn it down", because I can at least know what I'd be aligning myself with and why.

Important clarification: pragmatism is not synonymous with policymaking. On the contrary, one may argue that there is a more pragmatic way to frame judge decision-making in debates than traditional policymaking paradigms. Perhaps assessing debates about the outcome of hypothetical policies is useless, or worse, dangerous. Regardless of how you debate or what you debate about, you should be willing and able to mount a strong defense of why you're doing those things (which perhaps requires some thought about the overall purpose of this activity).

3) Topicality and Specification

Overall, I'm a decent judge for the neg, provided that they have solid evidence supporting their interpretation.

Limits are probably desirable in the abstract, but if your interpretation is composed of contrived stupidity, it will be hard to convince me that affs should have predicted it. Conversely, affs that are debating solid topicality evidence without well-researched evidence of their own are gonna have a bad time. Naturally, of these issues are up for debate, but I think it's relatively easy to win that research/literature guides preparation, and the chips frequently fall into place for the team accessing that argument.

Competing interpretations is potentially less subjective and arbitrary than a reasonability standard, although reasonability isn't as meaningless as many believe. Reasonability seems to be modeled after the "reasonable doubt" burden required to prove guilt in a criminal case (as opposed to the "preponderence of evidence" standard used in civil cases, which seems similar to competing interps as a model). Reasonability basically is the same as saying "to win the debate, the neg needs to win an 80% risk of their DA instead of a 50% risk." The percentages are arbitrary, but what makes determining that a disad's risk is higher or lower than the risk of an aff advantage (i.e. the model used to decide the majority of debates) any less arbitrary or subjective? It's all ballpark estimation determined by judges using whatever analysis debaters provides that persuades them. With reasonability-style arguments, aff can certainly win that they don't need to meet the best of all possible interpretations of the topic, assuming that they meet an interpretation capable of providing a sufficient baseline of neg ground/research ability. Describing what threshold of desirability their interpretation should meet, and then describing why that threshold is a better model for deciding topicality debates, is typically necessary to make this argument persuasive.

CJR: T - enact is poised to be a world-beater. I don't think there are many coherent T arguments on this topic, and I think it's winnable that courts affs are acceptable. But I haven't yet encountered any persuasive evidence that suggests agencies are topical, and that sets up competitive executive CPs, which really changes the balance of the topic.

Arms sales: T - subs is persuasive if your argument is that "substantially" has to mean something, and the most reasonable assessment of what it should mean is the lowest contextual bound that either team can discover and use as a bulwark for guiding their preparation. If the aff can't produce a reasonably well-sourced card that says substantially = X amount of arms sales that their plan can feasibly meet, I think neg teams can win that it's more arbitrary to assume that substantially is in the topic for literally no reason than it is to assume the lowest plausible reading of what substantially could mean (especially given that every definition of substantially as a higher quantity would lead one to agree that substantially is at least as large as that lowest reading). If the aff can, however, produce this card, it will take a 2N's most stalwart defense of any one particular interpretation to push back against the most basic and intuitive accusations of arbitrariness/goalpost-shifting.

T - reduce seems conceptually fraught in almost every iteration. Every Saudi aff conditions its cessation of arms sales on the continued existence of Saudi Arabia. If the Saudi military was so inept that the Houthis suddenly not only won the war against Saleh but actually captured Saudi Arabia and annexed it as part of a new Houthi Empire, the plan would not prevent the US from selling all sorts of exciting PGMs to Saudi Arabia's new Houthi overlords. Other than hard capping the overall quantity of arms sales and saying every aff that doesn't do that isn't topical, (which incidentally is not in any plausible reading a clearly forwarded interpretation of the topic in that poorly-written Pearson chapter), it's not clear to me what the distinction is between affs that condition and affs that don't are for the purposes of T - Reduce

Space cooperation: Topicality is making a big comeback in college policy debates this year. Kiinda overdue. But also kinda surprising because the T evidence isn't that high quality relative to its outsized presence in 2NRs, but hey, we all make choices.

STM T debates have been underwhelming in my assessment. T - No ADR... well at least is a valid argument consisting of a clear interp and a clear violation. It goes downhill from there. It's by no means unwinnable, but not a great bet in an evenly matched ebate. But you can't even say that for most of the other STM interps I've seen so far. Interps that are like "STM are these 9 things" are not only silly, they frequently have no clear way of clearly excluding their hypothesized limits explosion... or the plan. And I get it - STM affs are the worst (and we're only at the tip of the iceberg for zany STM aff prolif). Because STM proposals are confusing, different advocates use the terms in wildly different ways, the proposals are all in the direction of uniqueness and are difficult to distinguish from similar policy structures presently in place, and the area lacks comprehensive neg ground outside of "fuck those satellites, let em crash," STM affs producing annoying debates (which is why so many teams read STM). But find better and clearer T interps if you want to turn those complaints about topical affs into topicality arguments that exclude those affs. And I encourage you to do so quickly, as I will be the first to shamelessly steal them for my teams.

Ironically, the area of the topic that produces what seem to me the best debates (in terms of varied, high-quality, and evenly-matched argumentation) probably has the single highest-quality T angle for the neg to deploy against it. And that T angle just so happens to exclude nearly every arms control aff actually being ran. In my assessment, both the interp that "arms control = quantitative limit" and the interp that "arms control = militaries just like chilling with each other, hanging out, doing some casual TCBMs" are plausible readings of the resolution. The best aff predictability argument is clearly that arms control definitions established before the space age have some obvious difficulties remaining relevant in space. But it seems plausible that that's a reason the resolution should have been written differently, not that it should be read in an alternate way. That being said, the limits case seems weaker than usual for the neg (though not terrible) and in terms of defending an interp likely to result in high-quality debates, the aff has a better set of ground arguments at their disposal than usual.

4) Risk Assessment

In front of me, teams would be well-served to explain their impact scenarios less in terms of brinks, and more in terms of probabilistic truth claims. When pressed with robust case defense, "Our aff is the only potential solution to a US-China war that's coming in a few months, which is the only scenario for a nuclear war that causes extinction" is far less winnable than "our aff meaningfully improves the East Asian security environment through building trust between the two great military powers in the region, which statistically decreases the propensity for inevitable miscalculations or standoffs to escalate to armed conflict." It may not be as fun, but that framing can allow you to generate persuasive solvency deficits that aren't grounded in empty rhetoric and cliche, or to persuasively defeat typical alt cause arguments, etc. Given that you decrease the initial "risk" (i.e. probability times magnitude) of your impact with this framing, this approach obviously requires winning substantial defense against whatever DA the neg goes for, but when most DA's have outlandishly silly brink arguments themselves, this shouldn't be too taxing.

There are times where investing lots of time in impact calculus is worthwhile (for example, if winning your impact means that none of the aff's impact claims reach extinction, or that any of the actors in the aff's miscalc/brinkmanship scenarios will be deterred from escalating a crisis to nuclear use). Most of the time, however, teams waste precious minutes of their final rebuttal on mediocre impact calculus. The cult of "turns case" has much to do with this. It's worth remembering that accessing an extinction impact is far more important than whether or not your extinction impact happens three months faster than theirs (particularly when both sides' warrant for their timeframe claim is baseless conjecture and ad hoc assertion), and that, in most cases, you need to win the substance of your DA/advantage to win that it turns the case.

Incidentally, phrasing arguments more moderately and conditionally is helpful for every argument genre: "all predictions fail" is not persuasive; "some specific type of prediction relying on their model of IR forecasting has little to no practical utility" can be. The only person who's VTL is killed when I hear someone say "there is no value to life in the world of the plan" is mine.

At least for me, try-or-die is often bizarrely intuitive based on argument selection (i.e. if the neg spots the aff that "extinction is inevitable if the judge votes neg, even if it's questionable whether or not the aff solves it", rationalizing an aff ballot becomes rather alluring and shockingly persuasive). You should combat this innate intuition by ensuring that you either have impact defense of some sort (anything from DA solves the case to a counterplan/alt solves the case argument to status quo checks resolve the terminal impact to actual impact defense can work) or invest time in arguing against try-or-die decision-making.

5) Counterplans

Counterplan theory is a lost art. Affirmatives let negative teams get away with murder. And it's getting worse and worse every year. Investing time in theory is daunting... it requires answering lots of blippy arguments with substance and depth and speaking clearly, and probably more slowly than you're used to. But, if you invest time, effort, and thought in a well-grounded theoretical objection, I'll be a receptive critic.

The best theory interpretations are clear, elegant, and minimally arbitrary. Here are some examples of args that I would not anticipate many contemporary 2N's defeating:

--counterplans should be policies. Perhaps executive orders, perhaps guidence memos, perhaps lower court decisions, perhaps Congressional resolutions. But this would exclude such travesties as "The Executive Branch should always take international law into account when making their decisions. Such is closer to a counterplan that says "The Executive Branch should make good decisions forever" than it is to a useful policy recommendation.

--counterplans should not be able to fiat both the federal government and additional actors outside of the federal government. It's utopian enough to fiat that Courts, the President, and Congress all act in concert in perpetuity on a given subject. It's absurd to fiat additional actors as well.

There are other theoretical objections that I might take more seriously than other judges, although I recognize them as arguments on which reasonable minds may disagree. For example, I am partial to the argument that solvency advocates for counterplans should have a level of specificity that matches the aff. I feel like that standard would reward aff specificity and incentivize debates that reflect the literature base, while punishing affs that are contrived nonsense by making them debate contrived process nonsense. This certainly seems debateable, but it seems like an even debate on both sides (and a better argument than many of the contrived and desperate solvency deficits that flailing affs teams extend against counterplans).

Competition debates are a particularly lost art. I'm not a great judge for counterplans that compete off of certainty or immediacy based on "should"/"resolved" definitions. I'm somewhat easily persuaded that these interpretations lower the bar for how difficult it is to win a negative ballot to an undesirable degree. That being said, affs lose these debates all the time by failing to counter-define words or dropping stupid tricks, so make sure you invest the time you need in these debates to win them.

Offense-defense is intuitive to me, and so teams should always be advised to have offense even if their defense is very strong. If the aff says that the counterplan links to the net benefit but doesn't advance a solvency deficit or disadvantage to the CP, and the neg argues that the counterplan at least links less, I am not very likely to vote affirmative absent strong affirmative framing on this question (often the judge is left to their own devices on this question, or only given instruction in the 2AR, which is admittedly better than never but still often too late). At the end of the day I must reconcile these opposing claims, and if it's closely contested and at least somewhat logical, it's very difficult to win 100% of an argument. Even if I think the aff is generally correct, in a world where if I have literally any iota of doubt surrounding the aff position or am even remotely persuaded by the the negative's position, why would I remotely risk triggering the net benefit for the aff instead of just opting for the guaranteed safe choice of the counterplan?

Offense can come in multiple flavors: you can argue that the affirmative or perm is less likely to link to the net benefit than the counterplan, for example. You can also argue that the risk of a net benefit below a certain threshold is indistinguishable from statistical noise, and that the judge should reject to affirm a difference between the two options because it would encourage undesirable research practices and general decision-making. You can likely advance an analytic solvency deficit somewhat supported by one logical conjecture, and if you are generally winning the argument, have the risk of the impact to that outweigh the unique risk of aff triggering the DA relative to the counterplan. But in the absent of any offensive argument of any sort, the aff is facing an uphill battle. I have voted on "CP links to politics before" but typically that only happens if there is a severe flaw in negative execution (i.e. they drop it) or a significant skill descripancy between teams or a truly ill-conceived counterplan.

I'm a somewhat easy sell on conditionality good (at least 1 CP / 1 K is defensible), but I've probably voted aff slightly more frequently than not in conditionality debates. That's partly because of selection bias (affs go for it when they're winning it), but mainly because neg teams have gotten very sloppy in their defenses of conditionality, particularly in the 2NR. That being said, I've been growing more and more amenable to "conditionality bad" arguments over time.

However, large advantage counterplans with multiple planks, all of which can be kicked, are basically indefensible. Negative teams can fiat as many policies as it takes to solve whatever problems the aff has sought to tackle. It is unreasonable to the point of stupidity to expect the aff to contrive solvency deficits: the plan would literally have to be the only idea in the history of thought capable of solving a given problem. Every additional proposal introduced in the 1nc (in order to increase the chance of solving) can only be discouraged through the potential cost of a disad being read against it. In the old days, this is why counterplan files were hundreds of pages long and had answers to a wide variety of disads. But if you can kick the plank, what incentive does the aff have to even bother researching if the CP is a good idea? If they read a 2AC add-on, the neg gets as many no-risk 2NC counterplans to add to the fray as well (of course, they can also add unrelated 2nc counterplans for fun and profit). If you think you can defend the merit of that strategy vs. a "1 condo cp / 1 condo k" interp then you should pass debate and go directly to Trump's Department of Justice, because they have some legal puzzles for you to solve that desperately require your input.

I don't default to the status quo unless you explicitly flag it at some point during the debate (the cross-x or the 2nc is sufficient if the aff never contests it). I don't know why affs ask this question every cross-x and then never make a theory argument about it. It only hurts you, because it lets the neg get away with something they otherwise wouldn't have.

All that said, I don't have terribly strong convictions about any of these issues, and any theoretical predisposition is easily overcame by outdebating another team on the subject at hand.

6) Politics

Most theoretical objections to (and much sanctimonious indignation toward) the politics disadvantage have never made sense to me. Fiat is a convention about what it should be appropriate to assume for the sake of discussion, but there's no "logical" or "true" interpretation of what fiat descriptively means. It would be ludicrously unrealistic for basically any 1ac plan to pass immediately, with no prior discussion, in the contemporary political world. Any form of argument in which we imagine the consequences of passage is a fictive constraint on process argumentation. As a result, any normative justification for including the political process within the contours of permissible argument is a rational justification for a model of fiat that involves the politics DA (and a DA to a model of fiat that doesn't). Political salience is the reason most good ideas don't become policy, and it seems illogical for the negative to be robbed of this ground. The politics DA, then, represents the most pressing political cost caused by doing the plan in the contemporary political environment, which seems like a very reasonable for affs to have to defend against.

Obviously many politics DAs are contrived nonsense (especially during political periods during which there is no clear, top-level presidential priority). However, the reason that these DAs are bad isn't because they're theoretically illegitimate, and politics theory's blippiness and general underdevelopment further aggravate me (see the tech vs truth section).

Finally, re: intrinsicness, I don't understand why the judge should be the USFG. I typically assume the judge is just me, deciding which policy/proposal is the most desirable. I don't have control over the federal government, and no single entity does or ever will (barring that rights malthus transition). Maybe I'm missing something. If you think I am, feel free to try and be the first to show me the light...

All that being said - most political capital DAs are self-evidently nonsense in the Trump era. We no longer have a president that expends or exerts political capital as described by any of the canonical sources that theorized that term. Affs should be better at laundry listing thumpers and examples that empirically prove Trump's ability to shamelessly lie about whatever the aff does or why he supports the aff and have a conservative media environment that tirelessly promotes that lie as the new truth, but it's not hard to argue this point well. Sometimes, when there's an agenda (even if that agenda is just impeachment), focus links can be persuasive. I actually like the internal agency politics DA's more than others do, because they do seem to better analyze the present political situation. Our political agenda at the national level does seem driven at least as much by personality-driven palace intrigue as anything else; if we're going to assess the political consequences of our proposed policies, that seems as good a proxy for what's likely to happen as anything else.

7) Framework/Non-Traditional Affs

Despite some of the arguments I've read and coached, I'm sympathetic to the framework argument and fairness concerns (especially in high school). I don't think that topicality arguments are presumptively violent, and I think it's generally rather reasonable (and often strategic) to question the aff's relationship to the resolution. Although framework is often the best option, I would generally prefer to see a substantive strategy if one's available. This is merely because I have literally judged hundreds of framework debates and it has gotten mildly repetitive, to say the least (just scroll down if you think me guilty of hyperbole).

My voting record on framework is relatively even. In nearly every debate, I voted for the team I assessed as demonstrating superior technical debating in the final rebuttals, and that will continue in the future.

I typically think winning unique offense, in the rare scenario where a team invests substantial time in poking defensive holes in the other team's standards, is difficult for both sides in a framework debate. I think affs should think more about their answers to "switch side solves your offense" and "sufficient neg engagement key to meaningfully test the aff", while neg's should generally work harder to prepare persuasive and consistent impact explanations. The argument that "other policy debates solve your offense" can generally push back against skills claims, and the argument that "wiki/disclosure/contestable advocacy in the 1ac provides some degree of predictability/debateability" can often push back against "vote neg on presumption b/c truth-testing- we literally couldn't negate it" but for some reason in many debates neg's completely blow off these arguments.

I'm typically more persuaded by affirmative teams that answer framework by saying that the skills/methods inculcated by the 1ac produce more effective/ethical interactions with institutions than by teams that argue "all institutions are bad".

Fairness is not necessarily an impact; it certainly may implicate the education that the aff produces, but calling fairness "procedural" doesn't bestow upon it some mystical external impact without additional explanation (i.e. without an actual impact attached to that). Fairness is an abstract value. Like most values, it is difficult to explain beyond a certain point, and it can't be proven or disproven. It's hard to answer the question "why is fairness good?" for the same reason it's hard to answer the question "why is justice good?" It is pretty easy to demonstate why you should presume in favor of fairness in a debate context, given that everyone relies on essential fairness expectations in order to participate in the activity (for example, teams expect that I flow and give their arguments a fair hearing rather than voting against them because I don't like their choice in clothes). But as soon as neg teams start introducing additional standards to their framework argument that raise education concerns, they have said that the choice of framework has both fairness and education implications, and if it could change our educational experience, could the choice of framework change our social or intellectual experience in debate in other ways as well? Maybe not (I certainly think it's easy to win that an individual round's decision certainly couldn't be expected to) but if you said your FW is key to education it's easy to see how those kinds of questions come into play and now can potentially militate against fairness concerns.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to question the desirability of the activity (we should all ideally be self-reflexive and be able to articulate why it is we participate in the activities we participate in). After all, I think nearly everybody in the world does utterly indefensible things from time to time, and many people (billions) make completely indefensile decisions all the time. The reason why these arguments can be unpersuasive is typically because saying that debate is bad very well may link to the debate saying "debate bad" because they're, you know, debating, and no credible solvency mechanism for altering the activity has been presented.

I know I just explained a rationale for potentially restricting your framework impacts to fairness concerns. But still it's nice and often more fulfilling from a judge's perspective to hear a defense of debate rather than a droll recitation of "who knows why debate's good but we're both here... so like... it must be." If that means "procedural fairness" is de-emphasized in favor of an explanation for why the particular fairness norms established by your topicality interpretation are crucial to a particular vision of the activity and a defense of that vision's benefits, that would be a positive development.

If you're looking for an external impact, there are two impacts to framework that I have consistently found more persuasive than most attempts to articulate one for fairness/skills/deliberation, but they're not unassailable: "switch-side debate good" (forcing people to defend things they don't believe is the only vehicle for truly shattering dogmatic ideological predispositions and fostering a skeptical worldview capable of ensuring that its participants, over time, develop more ethical and effective ideas than they otherwise would) and "agonism" (making debaters defend stuff that the other side is prepared to attack rewards debaters for pursuing clash; running from engagement by lecturing the neg and judge on a random topic of your choosing is a cowardly flight from battle; instead, the affirmative team with a strong will to power should actively strive to beat the best, most well-prepared negative teams from the biggest schools on their terms, which in turn provides the ultimate triumph; the life-affirming worldview facilitated by this disposition is ultimately necessary for personal fulfillment, and also provides a more effective strategy with which to confront the inevitable hardships of life).

Many aff "impact turns" to topicality are often rendered incoherent when met with gentle pushback. It's difficult to say "predictability bad" if you have a model of debate that makes debate more predictable from the perspective of the affirmative team. Exclusion and judgment are inevitable structural components of any debate activity that I can conceive of: any DA excludes affs that link to it and don't have an advantage that outweighs it. The act of reading that DA can be understood as judging the debaters who proposed that aff as too dull to think of a better idea. Both teams are bound to say the other is wrong and only one can win. Many aff teams may protest that their impact turns are much more sophisticated than this, and are more specific to some element of the topicality/FW structure that wouldn't apply to other types of debate arguments. Whatever explanation you have for why that above sentence true should be emphasized throughout the debate if you want your impact turns or DA's to T to be persuasive. In other words, set up your explanation of impact turns/disads to T in a way that makes clear why they are specific to something about T and wouldn't apply to basic structural requirements of debate from the outset of the debate.

I'm a fairly good judge for the capitalism kritik. Among my most prized possessions are signed copies of Jodi Dean books that I received as a gift from my debaters. Capitalism is persuasive for two reasons, both of which can be defeated, and both of which can be applied to other kritiks. First, having solutions (even ones that seem impractical or radical) entails position-taking, with clear political objectives and blueprints, and I often find myself more persuaded by a presentation of macro-political problems when coupled with corresponding presentation of macro-political solutions. Communism, or another alternative to capitalism, frequently ends up being the only solution of that type in the room. Second, analytic salience: The materialist and class interest theories often relatively more explanatory power for oppression than any other individual factor because they entail a robust and logically consistent analysis of the incentives behind various actors committing various actions over time. I'm certainly not unwinnable for the aff in these debates, particularly if they strongly press the alt's feasibility and explain what they are able to solve in the context of the neg's turns case arguments, and I obviously will try my hardest to avoid letting any predisposition overwhelm my assessment of the debating.

8) Kritiks (vs policy affs)

I'm okay for 'old-school' kritik's (security/cap/etc), but I'm also okay for the aff. When I vote for kritiks, most of my RFD's look like one of the following:

1) The neg has won that the implementation of the plan is undesirable relative to the status quo;

2) The neg has explicitly argued (and won) that the framework of the debate should be something other than "weigh the plan vs squo/alt" and won within that framework.

If you don't do either of those things while going for a kritik, I am likely to be persuaded by traditional aff presses (case outweighs, try-or-die, perm double-bind, alt fails etc). Despite sympathies for much poststructural thought, it's often hard to divorce my thinking from utilitarian cost-benefit analysis.

Kritik alternatives typically make no sense. They often have no way to meaningfully compete with the plan, usually because of a scale problem. Either they are comparing what one person/a small group should do to what the government should do, or what massive and sweeping international movements should do vs what a government should do. Both comparisons seem like futile exercises for reasons I hope are self-evident.

There are theory arguments that affs could introduce against alternatives that exploit common design flaws in critical arguments. "Vague alts" is not really one of them (ironically because the argument itself is too vague). Some examples: "Alternatives should have texts; otherwise the alternative could shift into an unpredictable series of actions throughout the debate we can't develop reasonable responses against." "Alternatives should have actors; otherwise there is no difference between this and fiating 'everyone should be really nice to each other'." Permutations are easy to justify: the plan would have to be the best idea in the history of thought if all the neg had to do was think of something better.

Most kritik frameworks presented to respond to plan focus are not really even frameworks, but a series of vague assertions that the 2N is hoping that the judge will interpret in a way that's favorable for them (because they certainly don't know exactly what they're arguing for). Many judges continually interpret these confusing framework debates by settling on some middle-ground compromise that neither team actually presented. I prefer to choose between options that debaters actually present.

My ideal critical arguments would negate the aff. For example, against a heg aff, I could be persuaded by security K alts that advocate for a strategy of unilateral miltary withdrawal. Perhaps the permutation severs rhetoric and argumentation in the 1ac that, while not in the plan text, is both central enough to their advocacy and important enough (from a pedagogical perspective) that we should have the opportunity to focus the debate around the geopolitical position taken by the 1ac. The only implication to to a "framework" argument like this would be that, assuming the neg wins a link to something beyond the plan text, the judge should reject, on severence grounds, permutations against alts that actually make radical proposals. In the old days, this was called philosophical competition. How else could we have genuine debates about how to change society or grand strategy? There are good aff defenses of the plan focus model from a fairness and education perspective with which to respond to this, but this very much seems like a debate worth having.

All this might sound pretty harsh for neg's, but affs should be warned that I think I'm more willing than most judges to abandon policymaking paradigms based on technical debating. If the negative successfully presents and defends an alternative model of decisionmaking, I will decide the debate from within it. The ballot is clay; mold it for me and I'll do whatever you win I should.

9) Kritiks (vs K affs)

Anything goes!

Seriously, I don't have strong presuppositions about what "new debate" is supposed to look like. For the most part, I'm happy to see any strategy that's well researched or well thought-out. Try something new! Even if it doesn't work out, it may lead to something that can radically innovate debate.

Most permutation/framework debates are really asking the question: "Is the part of the aff that the neg disagreed with important enough to decide an entire debate about?" (this is true in CP competition debates too, for what it's worth). Much of the substantive debating elsewhere subsequently determines the outcome of these sub-debates far more than debaters seem to assume.

Role of the ballot/judge claims are obviously somewhat self-serving, but in debates in which they're well-explained (or repeatedly dropped), they can be useful guidelines for crafting a reasonable decision (especially when the ballot theorizes a reasonable way for both teams to win if they successfully defend core thesis positions).

Yes, I am one of those people who reads critical theory for fun, although I also read about domestic politics, theoretical and applied IR, and economics for fun. Yes, I am a huge nerd, but who's the nerd that that just read the end of a far-too-long judge philosophy in preparation for a debate tournament? Thought so.

10) Addendum: Random Thoughts from Random Topics

In the spirit of Bill Batterman, I thought to myself: How could I make this philosophy even longer and less useable than it already was? So instead of deleting topic-relevent material from previous years that no longer really fit into the above sections, I decided to archive all of that at the bottom of the paradigm if I still agreed with what I said (there were some bad takes that got thrown into the memory hole).

ESR debates on the executive powers topic --- I think the best theory arguments against ESR are probably just solvency advocate arguments. Seems like a tough sell to tell the neg there’s no executive CP at all. I've heard varied definitions of “object fiat” over the years: fiating an actor that's a direct object/recipient of the plan/resolution; fiating an enduring negative action (i.e. The President should not use designated trade authority, The US should not retaliate to terrorist attacks with nukes etc); fiating an actor whose behavior is affected by a 1ac internal link chain. But none of these definitions seem particularly clear nor any of these objections particularly persuasive.

States CP on the education and health insurance topics --- States-and-politics debates are not the most meaningful reflection of the topic literature, especially given that the nature of 50 state fiat distorts the arguments of most state action advocates, and they can be stale (although honestly anything that isn't a K debate will not feel stale to me these days). But I'm sympathetic to the neg on these questions, especially if they have good solvency evidence. There are a slew of policy analysts that have recommended as-uniform-as-possible state action in the wake of federal dysfunction. With a Trump administration and a Republican Congress, is the prospect of uniform state action on an education or healthcare policy really that much more unrealistic than a massive liberal policy? There are literally dozens of uniform policies that have been independently adopted by all or nearly all states. I'm open to counter-arguments, but they should all be as contextualized to the specific evidence and counter-interpretation presented by the negative as they would be in a topicality debate (the same goes for the neg in terms of answering aff theory pushes). It's hard to defend a states CP without meaningful evidentiary support against general aff predictability pushes, but if the evidence is there, it doesn't seem to unreasonable to require affs to debate it. Additionally, there does seem to be a persuasive case for the limiting condition that a "federal-key warrant" places on affirmatives.

Topicality on executive power: This topic is so strangely worded and verbose that it is difficult to win almost any topicality argument against strong affirmative answers, as powerful as the limits case may be. ESR makes being aff hard enough that I’m not sure how necessary the negative needs assistance in limiting down the scope of viable affs, but I suppose we shall see as the year moves forward. I’m certainly open to voting on topicality violations that are supported by quality evidence. “Restrictions in the area of” = all of that area (despite the fact that two of the areas have “all or nearly all” in their wordings, which would seem to imply the other three are NOT “all or nearly all”) does not seem to meet that standard.

Topicality on immigration: This is one of the best topics for neg teams trying to go for topicality in a long time... maybe since alternative energy in 2008-9. “Legal immigration” clearly means LPR – affs will have a tough time winning otherwise against competent negative teams. I can’t get over my feeling that the “Passel and Fix” / “Murphy 91” “humanitarian” violations that exclude refugee, asylums, etc, are somewhat arbitrary, but the evidence is extremely good for the negative (probably slightly better than it is for the affirmative, but it’s close), and the limits case for excluding these affs is extremely persuasive. Affs debating this argument in front of me should make their case that legal immigration includes asylum, refugees, etc by reading similarly high-quality evidence that says as much.

Sharon Hopkins Paradigm

3 rounds

Sharon Hopkins

Occupation: High School U.S History Teacher
Past Affiliations: Director of Debate at University Prep HS in Detroit, MI & Assistant Debate Coach, University of Iowa

I am in my 8th year of coaching. I have had two teams clear at national tournaments including New Trier, Iowa Valley, University of Michigan, Glenbrooks, Scranton, Blake, & Lexington. Winner of the Berkeley Tournament in 2014 & the NAUDL Tournament in 2014 & 16. I have also had two teams qualify to the TOC and one Semi-Finalist.

Updated 4/21/18

The Topic
I am familiar with many of the arguments on this topic.

The Basics
A wise judge once said "Win what you are good at". Pretty much Anything goes as long as you understand what you are saying with the exception of "racism good". Debate is about critical thinking and often times teams rely solely on the cards and not the merits/effects of the policy and their understanding of them. Argumentation outweighs evidence. I prefer that you explain arguments thoroughly through your own understandings rather than reading a bunch of cards. If an argument is explained well, it will be given just as much weight as a card. I believe in persuasian over tech. With that being said, I rarely call for cards after the round. I prefer for debaters to debate it out, and not to construct my own story after the round.

In your rebuttals, you must do a good job of framing the debate. I don't like to have to nitpick my flow to decide what's important & should be voted on. You need to tell me which side I should vote for and why its your side

No prep time for flashing but ABSOLUTELY be quick about it.

Slow down on the tags. If you spread through them and I can't flow them, this can be detrimental to your speaks and the overall round.


I will vote for it but it is not my favorite debate especially if the aff is clearly topical. If you run T, you need to really explain the standards, not just re-read them.


CP's must solve the harms of the affirmative or I won't vote on it. If you run a PIC, the net benefit must be explained well and extended throughout the debate.

Have a good link story and impact it throughout the round.
Politics DA's- I find it difficult to evaluate these debates especially when the link is flimsy & the impact scenario is far-fetched & very much removed from reality.

Most of these debates are a wash except for Perf Con.


I really like to listen to a good K debate where the Kritik is explained in laymen's terms. In addition, the links need to be specific or you need to explain how the aff's methodology, reps, etc links to the K. If you take this route, your burden becomes more difficult but is still winnable.

Critical Affs
Aff-I'm your judge.
Neg-Have an inclusive framework and respond to case directly.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye... A Word About Performance "A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables),undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value."Based on this definition every 1AC is a project. In addition, not all performance teams are the same. Some critique debate itself. Others critique the resolution, some critique the government, while others have a plan text or advocacy statement that is a policy implementation, the performance is just the method in which debaters make their arguments more inclusive or put simply, makes it more interesting for a 16 year old to incorporate what they like into what they love. The best teams find a way to make their performance a discussion of the topic. I have seen some of the best critical thinking happen in these rounds where young people really found there voices. I do think that this argument should be accepted just as any other, and over time it will be, just as the Kritik was a taboo in the beginning, but is now commonplace. Teams need to be prepared for this type of argument just as they would any other, and not just read framework. They must actually interact with the effects of the advocacy.

*This does not mean just because you run a critical affirmative or performance that I will automatically vote for you. If you drop util arguments and such, I will vote accordingly.

If you have any questions, please ask before the round. Ultimately, be nice to each other, learn, and have fun. Everything else is secondary.

Leonard Irving-Thomas Paradigm

This is going to be pretty brief. I am last years National Association of Urban Debate Leagues Debater of the Year, and I currently debate with the University of California Berkeley. (in varsity) I have since the start of my career been running k focused debate. My favorite authors being Wilderson, Sexton,(afro-pess) Gumms(black queer mothering) along with afro futurist authors. However I do dwell out of the black K world with readings of Freud and Henry David Thoreau. I also have run abelism args. However hi-theory philosophy is not my cup of tea and if you run it make sure to extra explain it. I'm not going to just know what you are talking about. 



Now policy favoring teams, this isn't a reason to fret however. I do really like K teams, however I also don't like when ks are run sloppy. And I don’t purposely try to exclude policy teams. I just think yall aren’t best form of debate.


I am not a policy maker... If you call me one I don't care. I am me and will be me. So if your aff, alt. etc. is better I will vote for what i think is better from my organic position.

Also if you say something about terrorism, you better identify what a terrorist is, because if you say enemy of the state I may very well classify myself as that and I would prefer not to have my life altered by your plan so I may vote you down. 


I have a big threshold for T. If you run some T its I really won't believe you regardless. But if you winning on it and I identify it I will vote for you eventhough I may not be happy that I am.




THIS is enough for you to know whether you probably want to have me or strike me. I however like to have brief conversation before round about my paradigm and I will almost always make sure time is appropriated even if I have to talk to you while you set up to give adequite explanation.



Policy Affs: Fine with it, not super enthusiastic,

Performance affs: Please pleas please make my day, put dont just spit or perform in the 1ac, keep going through the debate

K affs: Do it now, Then do it again, who cares about the topic, K the hell out of it. However I do like K affs to be not under but related to the topic

Counterplan: Please be extra competative I like voting on perms, also I don't presume multiple worlds on your off cases. 

Ks: Baddaboom, identity is best, but do it all

DA: Politics DAs are not my favorite, you need to really sell the link story for me, but if you win you win and I will vote your way



Lastly, the reason I am kepping it brief is because I like making new friends. This should let you know generally if I am a good judge for you, but I want to talk to you before round so I can just smile with y'all and have y'all ask me whatever else you might want to know 

Nathan Jin Paradigm

6 rounds

Debate history: NSDA Top 64 '13, Top 32 '14. Debated for Wichita East (KS) for 4 years in policy. 3rd in state, and a bunch of Kansas things you don't really care about.
I am now graduated, I did not debate in college. I judge the Cal debate tournament every year since it's important to give back to the community.

tl:dr: Stay calm. Be nice. I'll listen to most things but I probably don't know your weird kritik. I'm generally pretty tabula rasa, but if I don't understand it I can't vote on it (or I'll go by the words said in the round the best I can).


Style, High-level

The words that you say are the words that count in the round. Don't tell me to read cards, I will only do it if there's a conflict/disagreement about cards or I need to go into detail on some warrants. Don't waste your time telling me over and over again to read the cards after a round, you could just make other arguments in that time. I want to be able to hear your cards since I'm not reading them

Speed and clarity : Speed is generally fine. If I can't understand you I'll clear you once or twice. After that I will stop flowing, put my pen down and stare at you. If you're clear and its just too fast for me i'll let you know. If its a stream of analytics/theory, please give me pen time. If it doesn't make it on my flow it wasn't in the round.

I probably don't know the topic specific acronyms so please explain whatever stuff you're talking about.

I won't kick things for you, but I also won't apply things against you if the 2R doesn't catch it.

Classic debate - Case/DA/CP
Smart case arguments are typically the easiest way to win a round since no one pokes holes in the aff's case anymore. It's pretty easy to reduce their solvency with some smart analytics after reading their cards.

Impact turns: I read a lot of impact turns - dedev, wipeout ect.

Tell me a story about impacts, and do comparative analysis. I shouldn't have to do the comparison for you at the end.

K and Performance

K background: I read virilio, coloniality and my partner read Nietzche. I'm not too well versed in K lit but I can follow the words you say. If you avoid explaining to the other team, you're probably avoiding explaining to me

Performance affs- I think that you should have some sort of connection to the resolution. The resolution doesn't have to be a good thing (although I generally think you should defend it but you can convince me otherwise). Please explain why I am listening to what you are doing and why it matters. Also if you are doing some sort of performative work, make sure it actually ties into your arguments.


Theory: I was a T hack. Give me pen time. The activity is probably important. Fairness needs to be defined, although I'll default to fairness existing if you don't tell me it doesn't. Also default to competing interpretations.

Dumb theory arguments: I ran plan flaw and word pics on USFG. I'll listen to it.

Use theory to get you other things in the round.

Tom Kadie Paradigm

I did two years of circuit LD at Miramonte High School and graduated in 2015. I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2019 after doing four years of NPDA parliamentary debate.

I have no desire to impose my own views upon the debate round. In deciding the round, I will strive to be as objective as possible. Some people have noted that objectivity can be difficult, but this has never seemed like a reason that judges shouldn't strive to be objective. I, overwhelmingly, prefer that you debate in the style that you are most comfortable with and believe that you are best at. I would prefer a good K or util debate to a bad theory or framework debate anyday. That's the short version--here are some specifics if you're interested.

May 28th 2020 NFA-LD Update:

I'm new to NFA-LD LD so feel free to ask me questions. Most of the paradigm below applies, but here's some specific thoughts that could apply to NFA-LD.

1. Cards v. Spin: I tend to err that spin and analysis trump evidence quality in the abstract. Intuitively, a card is only as good as its extension. However, I will listen to framing arguments that indicate judges should prioritize debate's value as a research activity and prefer cards to spin.

GGI 2019 Parli-Specific Update:

While I will generally vote for any strategy, I would like to discuss my thoughts on some common debates. These thoughts constitute views about argument interaction that should not make a difference in most debates.

  • K affs versus T: Assuming the best arguments are made, I err affirmative 60-40 in these debates (The best arguments are rarely made.) However, I tend to believe that impact turns constitute a suboptimal route to beating topicality. I differ from some judges because I believe that neg impact framing on T (procedural fairness first, debate as a question of process, not product) tends to beat aff impact framing. However, I err aff on the legitimacy of K affs because I'm skeptical of the neg's link to that framing. Does T uniquely ensure procedural fairness? Thus, to win my ballot, teams reading K affs must take care to respond to the neg's specific impact framing. They cannot merely read parallel arguments.
  • Conditionality: I lean strongly that the negative gets 1 conditional advocacy. 2 is up for debate and three is pushing it. Objections to conditionality should be framed around the type of negative advocacies and the amount of aff flex. For example, perhaps 2 conditional advantage counterplans is permissible, but not 2 conditional PICs.

Past Paradigm:


  • Absent weighing on any particular layer, I default to weighing based on strength of link.
  • I probably won't cover everything so feel free to ask me questions.
  • Taken from Ben Koh because this makes sense: "If I sit and you are the winner (that is, the other 2 judges voted for you), and would like to ask me extensive questions, I will ask that you let the other RFDs be given and then let the opponent leave before asking me more questions. I'm fine answering questions, but just to be fair the other people in the room should be allowed to leave."

Delivery and speaks:

  • Fine with speed.
  • I'm not the greatest at flowing, so try to be clear about where an argument was made.
  • High speaks for good strategic choices and innovative arguments. I will say clear as much as necessary and I won't penalize speaks for clarity.


  • I default to being epistemically conservative, but will accept arguments for epistemic modesty if they are advanced and won.
  • I am willing to support any framework given that it is won on the flow.
  • I'm willing to vote for permissibility or presumption triggers. However, there must be some implicit or explicit defense of a truth-testing paradigm. The argument must also be clear the first time that it is read. If the argument is advanced for the first time in the 1AR and I think that it is new, I will allow new 2NR responses.
  • Many framework debates are difficult to adjudicate because debaters fail to weigh between different metastandards on the framework debate. For example, if util meets actor-specificity better, but Kantianism is derived from a superior metaethic, is the actor-specificity argument or the metaethic more important?

Theory and T:

  • I default to no RVI, drop the argument on most theory and drop the debater on T, competing interpretations, and fairness and education not being voters. Most of these defaults rarely matter because debaters make arguments.
  • I don't think that competing interps means anything besides a risk of offense model for the adjudication of theory. That means, for example, that debaters need to justify why their opponent must have an explicit counter-interpretation in the first speech.
  • I, paradigmatically, won't vote on 2AR theory.
  • I'm willing to vote on metatheory. I probably err slightly in favor of the metatheory bad arguments such as infinite regress.
  • I'm willing to vote on disclosure theory.
  • Fine with frivolous theory.


  • I default to believing in durable fiat.
  • Debaters should work on pointing out missing internal links in most extinction scenarios.
  • I default that perms are tests of competition and not advocacies.
  • I probably err aff on issues of counter-plan competition.
  • Err towards the view that uniqueness controls the direction of the link. However, I'm willing to accept arguments about why the link is more important.
  • I will evaluate 1ar add-ons and 2nr counter-plans against these add-ons. This is irrelevant in most debates.


  • There are many different kinds of kritikal argumentation so feel free to ask questions in round.
  • I'm unsure whether I should default to role of the ballot arguments coming before ethical frameworks. I personally believe that ethical arguments engage important assumptions made by many ROB arguments. However, community consensus is that ROB's come first so I will usually stick with that assumption if no argument is made either way.
  • I default to fairness impacts coming before theory, but I'm willing to evaluate arguments to the contrary.
  • I don't have strong objections to non-topical positions. However, I believe debaters should probably engage in practices like disclosure that improve the theoretical legitimacy of their practices.
  • Willing to vote on Kritikal RVI's/impact turns to theory.
  • I'm willing to listen to arguments that there shouldn't be perms in method debates. However, I find these arguments not very persuasive.

Note for HS Parli:

Everything above applies. Except for the stuff about prep time. The only parli specific issue is that I will listen to theory arguments that it is permissible to split the block. Feel free to ask me any questions

Rugved Karhade Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Anastasia Kazteridis Paradigm

1 rounds

Debated at Georgetown, 2013 - 2016

Debated for Bronx Science 

I don't think that there are any "rules" in debate about the arguments you are and aren't allowed to read.

I'm most familiar with policy arguments, so my threshold for understanding the k is a bit higher, but I will listen to anything and judge the debate based on the arguments presented during the round. Kindness to your partner and opponents is important.

I'm not an expert on the topic, so make sure that you explain what you are going for - I do not vote on topic "buzzwords" without a warranted explanation of how your arguments implicate the debate so make sure you are clear.

Other than that, have fun!



Kim Kim Paradigm

Please add me on your email chains:

I coach mostly LD at The Harker School. I debated policy for 4 years at Lexington High School and for 2 years at UC Berkeley. I'm currently pursuing a Master's degree in Security Studies at Georgetown.

My affinity for arguments, in order:
1) Policy/LARP (DAs, CPs, Impact turns, etc.)
2) IR Ks, Cap/Neolib K
3) Identity-based args (Pessimism, SetCol)
4) Postmodern Ks (Baudrillard, Bataille, Psychoanalysis, etc. - Deleuze is below the line)
5) T/Theory (notable exception: T vs Non-topical affs, which is a solid 2)

----[this is the Maginot Line - I'll happily judge and vote for everything above this line - everything below, I have a harder time following along]----

6) Modernist Ks (Nietzsche, Heidegger)
7) Phil
8) Frivolous theory/tricks

NOTE: the difference between 1 and 5 is significantly smaller than the difference between 5 and 6. I don't think I am a bad K judge at all, and my voting record will show for that; but given my background, I'm just more familiar with some args over others.

This paradigm is deliberately short.
If you'd like to know my background knowledge regarding and/or willingness to vote for any argument without tipping your hand to your opponent or have any concerns about the round re: safety/comfort, please send me an email or ask to speak to me privately. I'll happily answer any questions you have to the best of my abilities. Seriously, email me; It’s a zero-risk option for you.

Here are some questions I’ve been asked before:
"My opponent has a history of clipping; how do you go about verifying and punishing it?"
”What were your favorite args to go for in high school/college?”
"Do you vote for RVIs on T?"
"Do you know what semiocapitalism is?"
"What are your thoughts re: fairness as an independent impact to Framework?"
"My opponent has a history of violating my emotional comfort. Could you keep that in mind as this debate occurs?

Other thoughts:
- Debaters are expected to be sensitive to the judge's and opponents' feelings. Blatant displays of insensitivity to judges can manifest in different ways, from aggressive postrounding, to refusing to slow down in your speeches after your judges "clear" you, to continuing a problematic line of question during CX despite me giving you death glares. I plan to spare you the exact amount of sympathy that you give me and your opponent(s).
- Debate opened my eyes to the concept of privilege and the way it gets weaponized. I want to do what I can to make sure others have that chance.
- I don't assume the worst of debaters when it comes to slips in language. That said, please don't misgender people.
- When it comes to counterplan theory, I don't know if there's a better arg than "you should reward good research".
- Presumption is a non-starter in front of me. The likelihood of one side having zero risk of offense isn't low, but the likelihood of both sides having zero risk of offense is impossible.
- "Evidence ethics" is not a theory violation; it's an accusation of cheating. The round ends immediately, and I give the winner a W-30 and the loser the lowest speaks will let me give.

Leo Kim Paradigm

3 rounds

Coach at Chaminade & La Reina in LA.

Please put me on the email chain:

**Berkeley Update**

Debate is non-negotiably good.

Death is non-negotiably bad.

Please do not pref me if you disagree.

**Relevant Update for Immigration Topic**

This will very likely be my last year of involvement in Debate. To everyone I have judged, and everyone I will judge, thank you.

This being said, I have recently come to some ideological conclusions that will certainly be relevant to how certain teams fill out their pref sheet.

  • Topicality is a dying art. It's a frustrating process to learn how to execute it, but for teams that can do a T debate the right way, I will be incredibly impressed and reward your speaks accordingly.
  • The critique is a frustrating argument to listen to, on both sides. As a result, if your critique debate that leaves me frustrated for the entire hour and a half, you might get a win, but I can almost guarantee I'll be your lowest speaks in prelims.
  • Soft left affirmatives are quite boring.
  • I will not vote for "[x disad] is racist" unless it is 5 minutes of your 2AR.
  • I really dislike the new meta of affirmatives with both a extinction and structural violence impact. No, it does not make a difference against the counterplan.
  • I will not honor requests for extra speaker points. If you ask, your max points will be 27.1, unless I think you deserve extra.
  • Prefs are not racist or sexist.
  • The negative's maximum speaker points will be 28.5 if the 1NC skips an offcase position in the doc, the cap is the same for the aff if the 2AC answers a position that is skipped.
  • *Addendum: For my position on the K this year: (not really but also kinda)

**General Thoughts**

I'm a good judge for you if:

  • You want a judge who will attempt to understand the debate to the best of their ability, and attempt to adjudicate fairly.
  • You read an affirmative.
  • You negate the affirmative.
  • You like fast, technical debate.
  • You display a ton of personality in your debates.
  • Your argumentative tendencies lean right.
  • You have a superior defense of a critique of the affirmative.
  • You are great at the topicality debate.
  • You read well researched disadvantage or counterplan strategies.
  • You have a superior defense of impact turns.

I'm a decent judge for you if:

  • You read a critical affirmative.
  • You mostly go for critical arguments.
  • You default to generic negative strategies.
  • You have a decent defense of your affirmative.

I'm not a great judge for you if:

  • You assume that I know anything about any mumbo-jumbo critique since I coached Chaminade AT.
  • You're bad at debating the critique.
  • You don't warrant your arguments.
  • You expect high speaker points every debate, unless you radically change my understanding of the debate.
  • You don't demonstrate a mastery of the arguments you've read.
  • You like satire.

I'm an AWFUL judge for you if:

  • You unapologetically defend sexist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, etc. arguments.
  • You ask your opponent to delete things from the speech doc. The highest speaker points you will receive are 28. I've only ever seen this problem in LD.
  • Your best strategy against a team is theory. Distinct from topicality. Also have only encountered this in LD.
  • You like racing through arguments as fast as humanely possible.
  • You speak unclearly.
  • Your strategy relies on making your opponents uncomfortable.
  • You're disrespectful to your opponents.

Here's a copy of my paradigm on Wikispaces - a lot more comprehensive and specific:

LD Prefs

I'm not a good judge for you if:

  • Your strategy relies on having someone who enjoys LD.

My old paradigm has more comprehensive thoughts; something I would like to address though is that I will straight up not vote for an affirmative whose plan text reads, "The United States federal government should [do the resolution] through the recommendation of [author]".

Sam King Paradigm

3 rounds


General Info
Sam King (email:

I went to South Eugene High School from 2004-2008 and did policy debate in the national circuit. I went to Stanford for undergrad and for a masters from 2008-2013. While there, I did some debating, and I coached Palo Alto High School. I haven't been consistently involved in debate since 2013, so don't expect me to be intimately familiar with the topic.

I try to be tab, so run whatever you're most comfortable with. I have biases, but I will try to suppress them when evaluating the round. I list my biases below in an attempt to be honest, not because you should do anything to adapt. You will do better debating something that you're comfortable with than something that you think that I like. Most of my biases aren't too significant, anyways.

Also, I developed my general philosophy of debate from listening to Owen Zahorcak, and I learned how to answer the K by listening to Jessica Yeats, and I also agree with a lot of what Calum Matheson and David Heidt have to say, to varying degrees.

Arguments I like or dislike:

  • Any type of argument is fine. As a debater, I had a more or less equal propensity to go for the cap bad k, t / theory, or a case specific pic / sneaky counterplan DA strategy.
  • I am fascinated by the interaction between new technologies / information technology and culture. If you have a youtube k sitting in your tubs, I would love to hear it.
  • You may have heard that I always run the cap k. While that may be true, I happen to think that most postmodern hippie cap ks do more to support capitalism than the aff. Also, many cap bad debaters are horrible at the impact debate, so don't be afraid of impact turning in front of me.
  • I love well-run critical affs, case specific pics, counterplans with Ks as net benefits, and good case debate.
  • I think that Ks and performance arguments are interesting, and I'm moderately versed in the literature, but you should be sure to think about how it's relevant for a debate round or in the context of policy analysis.
  • Bad theory debates are very boring. Good and innovative theory debates are interesting.
  • Generic "using your agent is bad" das like politics, hollow hope, and prez powers tend to be boring unless they're non-standard or sneaky. So are consult counterplans.
  • Sneaky arguments in general are good if you can defend them.
  • Winning "terminal defense" is hard absent a concession or something that really doesn't link.
  • Gendered language is bad. There is no good offense against the critique of gendered language. I don't understand why any debater ever lets another team that uses gendered language win. If you don't have a gendered language file, then ask me for one or check out

General stylistic things:

  • If you are bigoted, don't expect very many speaker points.
  • Don't be afraid to extend your cheap shot.
  • Argumentative depth is good.
  • Speed is good. However, in the first 30 seconds of your first speech, I probably won't be able to hear you because I'm not used to your voice, so don't start out at your max speed, and don't start out on the theory debate. I probably won't yell clear because I expect you to get clearer anyways. I probably won't yell at you as often as I should.
  • When you're debating, my face is a very transparent reflection of what I think if your arguments. If I look confused, it's because i don't understand your argument. If I'm nodding or waving at you, you have already made your point and should stop beating a dead horse. If I'm looking up and thinking, it probably means that you said something dense that I'm still processing.
  • New Arguments: I was a 1a2n, so I'm fairly critical of new 2ar arguments. I consider an argument in the 2ar new if it isn't on my 1ar flow. For all speeches before the 2ar, I do not care if your argument is new unless the other team tells me to care: since the other team has an opportunity to respond and flag an argument as new, I won't bother looking to verify if it's new.
  • Arguments are new or not new; I'm not sure how it's possible to have a "new cross application." Either the argument was in the previous speech or it wasn't; either it always applied to the "new" location or it never did. Everything else is just an artifact of particular styles of flowing, which has little bearing on the legitimacy of an argument.
  • Cross-X: CX can be the most important or least important 3 minutes of the debate. I pay attention to CX, so make the most of it. Be aggressive.
  • Debating Theory: recognize that every argument is some combination of disad and advocacy. In theory, the interpretation is an advocacy; the standards/voters are disads. That means that you need impact calculus and that you should use counter interpretations on theory for the same reason you read counterplans. Also, I prefer debates that discuss general rules of debate rather than ad hoc rules. The rule "a counterplan is illegitimate if there is no agent who could decide between the plan and the counterplan" makes much more sense and is probably more predictable than the rule "the China counterplan is illegitimate." Adopting this style of theory debate will also make you more likely to think about the DAs and impact calculus involved in adopting a given standard for debate.
  • You don't need to generically re-extend every card in your scenario. If the other team only attacks your uniqueness, you don't need to specifically extend the link and impact. Just answer the other team's responses and do some comparative analysis between your scenario and theirs.

My theoretical conception of debate as an activity:

  • Fairness and Education are Connected: Debate is a game. Being a fun and fair game is necessary to maintain participation. Debate, as a game, is valuable because it's educational. Speaking fast, thinking technically (including in theory arguments), the K and debates about values, discussions about the political process and policy, and thinking in a policymaking mindframe (ie, uniqueness/link/impact, impact calculus) are some of the different and valuable types of education that debate offers. Competition gives debaters a very strong extrinsic motivation to pursue this education. Competition also, by pitting ideas against one another, increases critical thinking and acts similar to a peer review, helping debaters get closer to the Truth.
  • Performance: To win that debate should be changed, you need to win that a world that includes your modified version of debate would be superior to a world with the status quo form of debate. Both teams will argue that debate is a unique form of education. The question is how to best utilize that uniqueness. Making debate easier at the expense of education might hamper what makes debate unique; maintaining the rigor of debate while incorporating personal experience might make debate both more unique and more accessible. Think of an analogy to the sciences or engineering. Abandoning the scientific method because certain groups are underrepresented in the sciences would decrease the overall pursuit of Truth and especially harm the people in underrepresented groups who have the most to gain from being exposed to its rigor (this is especially true in debate where the hard speech, advocacy, and policy analysis skills are necessary to produce structural change). However, encouraging research that is inspired by personal experience or tailored to the needs of a specific community will not only lead to greater participation, but the end result will also be better. In other words, in order to convince me that debate ought to be change, you would have to win that your plan for debate has a better internal link to (inclusive / good / meaningful) education than their counterplan for debate. Alternately, you could just say that status quo debate educates people in a form of policymaking that leads to imperialist unilateral policymaking (ie, the Spanos critique of debate).
  • Framework: No one really believes that signing an aff ballot means that congress will vote for your aff. That doesn't mean, however, that 'discourse' trumps 'fiat' in terms of a framework for evaluating the round: I vote for which (theoretically acceptable and competitive) advocacy the debate has established is best. To be clear, if I vote neg, it does not mean that I actually reject development discourse or that I will solve any of the real world impacts of your critique; voting for a negative critique is just as theoretical an act as voting for an affirmative plan.
  • Specific Arguments: (And, remember, I suppress these biases if there's a debate about them) Floating pics are vulnerable to cross-x and theory. Condo is good. Advocacies without specific solvency advocates are annoying and generic. Advocacies that are not an opportunity cost DA against the aff don't make sense (that means, for instance, that if there is no agent who could choose between the plan and the counterplan, then the counterplan doesn't make sense. Feel free to get creative with how some third party might decide between the plan and counterplan, though. This also makes utopian advocacies problematic). Every plan has an implementation (defined by plan text, cross-x clarification, and evidence about what normal means is), and every part of that implementation is vulnerable to a counterplan; some people call this 'functional competition.' That generally means that things like pics and delay counterplans are fine as long as the aff is willing to clarify that their plan does something that makes the counterplan mutually exclusive.

Darrell Kinney Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated high school policy debate in the Mid 1990's and collegiate parliamentary at community college before transferring to UC . I am currently the coach of Skyline High school in Oakland, CA . Before then I coached at El Cerrito High School in Northern CA. I love the community I coach in. We have had great success in the past few years in both UDL and National Circuit competition but it is the daily conversations, discussions, and socializing that keep us all going. Debate changed my life, it wasn't the only thing that made who I am but it's important and I am grateful to be able to share that gift with students on a daily basis.

Note the top of this paradigm will me K heavy because I tend to get pref'd highest by Kritik, performance teams/non-usfg action tams. I will cover other issues in the bottom

Strengths: Open-mindedness - I've been around the debate activity for almost two decades. On a pre-political level I think it is a valuable space for students to develop and explore their voice. I am comfortable with different rhetorical styles and strategies. I have no bias for or against speed but i think it is always important to have ethos, logos, and pathos.

Literature I know pretty well
Foucault, Black/Africana authors (not my social location but I coach/teach some of these arguments), Marxism/Capitalism K, Orientalism, (I know a lot about the near east/south asia, islam, world religions, etc) decoloniality, Rodriguez (Prison abolition), Judith Butler. Ask me about an author or position if it isn't listed here.

Honesty - I'll tell you after the round or before the round if I don't get something. I'm at the point in my life where I'm not their to impress, deceive or lie about my knowledge base. So with that in mind I do lean slightly towards needing to hear meta-level framing issues from the judges not because i'm not flowing or comprehending the line by line, but because I'm not in the drivers seat in the debate round. If you can connect the dots on the flow you should be able to provide me a summary analysis of the nexus question in the debate. I want to hear something FROM THE DEBATERS that I can remember in the debaters. Voting issues with clear warrants and reasons to believe it's important. I hate the sound of my own voice in RFD's. I'm hear to judge, not teach or debate. There are certainly teachable moments but I want to err towards observer and evaluater. We can talk after rounds if we want to go deeper. If you have a position you are feeling unsure about me being able to handle then ask me before the round. 


Here are some areas where I don't have 100% confidence and I'm only saying this because I've read a lot of books and heard a lot of jargon and even have real world experiences learning from others but from my social position I want you to at least do work for me and keep me as much out of the debate as possible so that I am not instrumentalizing my privilege as a white cis male in the round.

Arguments I need to become more versed in

Queer theory/Trans arguments - Your ethos, sincerity, and willingness to analyze the lit for me will be helpful. 

Baudrillard (crazy post-modernity) - I'm not default against hearing this stuff but sometimes I feel like I've left the world of theory and have more been thinking about american, local politics, education, issues of race and economics. Real world activism. Please do major link work and don't give me throw away nonchalant sounding alts. Do mad crazy work just like you would on any other K.

Anthro - Not always ran in a way that makes sense to me. Still don't understand what object oriented ontology is. Probably not a huge issue on this topic.

Affirmatives based on books/literature - Love the, but still learning how to evaluate these. I haven't read a lot of literary theory either. 

Ask me about an author or position if it isn't listed here.

Worldview as an educator/coach

I don't think it matters anymore for me to set a paradigm when the debate community is so diverse and adapted and since all teams seem to have explored some aspect of all of the terrain.
I support the inclusion of radical argumentation in the debate community but also love a IR vs. Climate change debate. Even if I think you are winning the default framework, if it is used to exclude/police/punish rather than engage into a discussion, you might lose. Let me give you an example; the idea that Kritik debate is inaccessible coming from the mouths of a big school is pretty unconvincing. It is pretty hard for small or urban schools to keep up with myriad counterplans as well. So be cognizant of the way your opponents approach politics, especially if they are coming from a non traditional perspective. They have put a lot of work and thought into their arguments and aren't just aiming for a cheap win. Many of them have even tried the traditional route. So rather than making over-genralized arguments about what debate should be, how about more specific arguments about how you should be. What's integral about the way we present or perform ourselves. Even policy-making is a performance. Decisions are made together; even if your opponents should lose the round, it's not because they should have never been in it. Tell me what they can do differently with what they did, not what they should have done. Ultimately everyone in the world has a philosophy or critical paradigm that informs the way they approach relating to others. Clash is possible in all rounds, even if you occupy the strategic position. Kritik doesn't exist without policy-making, but policymaking needs to check it's assumptions and re-evaluate the warrants we use to justify status quo. I want my students to know the way things were done, are being done, and could be done.

Worldview as a person: I consider myself a radical in the sense that I believe liberation MUST be achieved for oppressed groups (including animals/natural resources. I think all humans probably desire justice but political ideology, economic superstructures, media, etc distort our views of things in such a way that we all suffer from a sickness of the ism's. Because of this in my personal life I chose to pursue a politics of non-coercion and non-violence. There are events in my life that make it impossible for me to advocate human beings killing other human beings. That doesn't mean I won't vote for a violent revolution or a just military action (in debate round) but just keep in mind that I do struggle with the balance of realism and idealism which I believe we all do. This is important because I want you to be careful of how you deploy your rhetoric. Anger is a real emotion it's also a luxury use it well. Sometimes I hear violence advocated against people in oppressed groups because they don't fit the exact agenda of someone's more radical politics. Per formatively this is suspect because in the real world it would make you a pariah, get you shot, or make you more enemies. Love has value. Honest recognition of disagreement but mutual respect has value in destroying the machine. Live and let live! Do your thing but don't become the oppressor. 


Should probably be ran more often. It's a great intro to debating theory. Can evaluate all the standards. Sometimes It gets too blippy/read blocks you wrote. I don't care for super long T shells in the 1NC. I have a high threshold of voting for T. The 2nr should go for it. T shells should have all four parts. I did drop a team for not saying T was a voting issue in the 1nc. Good T debates by both sides will look like a bottleneck. Start small expand in the 2ac to far and then condense down to the clash over competing interpretations about best contextual definitions in the 1nc/2a. T debates should be both about in-round impacts and post-round impacts. I don't buy the argument that any individual affirmative or even a bunch of bad affirmatives will make people quit debate.

For Fun and the Tactically Minded

Don't just read blocks as a substitute for flowing. Be analytical and add arguments to the blocks. Adapt and take risks. Run D/A's or Kritiks to CP's. Debate case, but hide D/A's and K's. Suprise me by running a Kritik that solves their advantages. Write a Kritik on the spot. Find a Counterplan from the 90's, update the evidence, and run it. 


Run CP's. Have good evidence. Be creative and adaptable. If you are Aff please have the Neg clarify counterplan during CX or it is your own fault if you aren’t clear on their advocacy or commitment. Plan-inclusive CP's are a necessary irritant. It doesn't seem logical to draw an arbitrary bright line since the community as a whole has expected such a large expansion of negative ground in the past few decades. Nonetheless, the quality of debating can still be apparent. I think it is up for you to demonstrate integrity in your strategy by warranting the importance of doing the PIC. Perms should be written out to be legit, not just a blip on the flow.

I don't have a set opinion on functional versus textual competition and will evaluate it on a case by case basis. Please run, what you think is net beneficial, but be aware that I will pull the trigger on theory at the point where a side the Aff can concvince me the debate has


When it comes to specific kritik authors I am open to any argument in the context of a debate round as long as the kritik is run well. In other words I won’t vote down any particular argument a priori, debate is a discourse and I like to see ideas tested in round. Links, links, links. 2nc links contextualized to the AfF. I'm not kidding when I say that Kritik is a link debate. Honestly if the link analysis is AMAZING AND persuasive by the neg I'll vote for it. I debated Krtiks before alternatives or even concerns with uniqueness and framework. It felt most persuasive to focus on the objection and to REALLY press the negative to prove the objection. Kritiks have morphed into D/A's and that amounts to a cooption and forecloses a possibility for real radical change.

I am new to performance debate. My top teams run it. I find it fascinating, intellectually stimulating and legitimate. However, that doesn't mean you will win just be virtue of being peformance. There is a difference between socialization through observation and emulating and authentic voice. I think performance presents either a radical opportunity to enhance the well-being of debate or an avant garde strategy to incorporate social movements occurring in our schools. I do ultimately believe that the aim of radical pedagogy is freedom and I will support student's right to free speech. I try to avoid paranoia and small mind complexes. In a sense, I am looking for debaters to bring in their own voice, more so than emulate performative strategies that they've seen others use.

Rachel Kovinsky Paradigm

4 rounds

Not Submitted

Elliot Kovnick Paradigm

Not Submitted

Nikhil Krishnan Paradigm

6 rounds

Lexington High School (MA), Class of 2015

University of California-Berkeley (CA), Class of 2019

Affiliations: Lexington High School, Wayzata High School, St. Vincent De Paul

National Circuit -- Debated 4 years, Coached 1 year


Feb 2016 (Update): Have not judged on the HS topic yet. The Berkeley tournament will be my first. Flashing counts as prep. Include me (nk [DOT] nikhilkrishnan [AT] on the email chain. Tabula rasa.


Debate about whatever you are good at (or feel like) debating. Do not change your argumentation style or content based on your perception of me. I think debate should be about the debaters, and thus I try to remove myself from whatever biases I might have and evaluate the debate solely on what the debaters quarreled about. I am a good judge for well-researched/prepared, confident, and persuasive students (in that order). I evaluate arguments logically unless given a different framework. I loved cross-ex back in high school, and I will reward a fantastic cross-ex with speaker points. Debate is an activity with a research/preparation aspect and a presentation aspect, and good debaters cannot exist without good strategies and good ethos. Strategies could range from a full-fledged case debate to a topic specific criticism to a mechanism counterplan/disad to a methodology debate, etc. Ethos includes your clarity, speed, intonation, and overall your in-round persona. Own the room. I will vote for any argument that isn't morally reprehensive (e.g. discrimination/oppression good). Accidental discursive blunders should be followed with an apology, but can still be losing if furtherly criticized. Ones that demonstrate mal-intent are flagrant voting issues.


Topicality is solely a game of execution. Whoever wins the technical battle (w/ decent evidence) oftentimes wins the debate.


Counterplans with a solid solvency advocate and ones that are grounded in the literature base are good. If you wish, run whatever cheating counterplans you want, but be prepared to have a robust theoretical defense.


Disads can have zero risk. Evidence quality and comparison really matter in close debates. Have nuanced impact/internal link debates. The better the link story the better (most of the time link controls the direction of uniqueness). Theory debates on politics are boring.


Kritiks are won and lost in framework. I read quite a bit of critical literature back in high school, and even though I have probably dabbled in your choice of philosopher, please give me a consistent explanation of your argument from the get-go. These debates are either hit or miss.


Alternative and/or non-traditional forms of evidence/presentation are welcome. Affirmative sets the focus of the debate (unless the Negative snatches it back).


I do not vote on theory a lot (partly because I rarely debated it). That being said, a large portion of the time that I will consider voting on theory is when there is a well-articulated and impacted reason why the opposing team's strategy/decisions have put you at an insurmountable disadvantage. The other times theory is often only enough reason to reject the argument. Do not think of theory as the last resort to win an otherwise unwinnable debate. Presumption resides with the team that advocates the least change of the status quo.


Quality over quantity. I do not call cards often (often because I'm on the email chain), and thus I would prefer a great explanation of evidence than having to interpret it myself. Remember claim/warrant/impact and evidence comparison. When considering truth vs. tech, I often find myself on leaning to the side of tech (whatever tech really means). Learning to package arguments will make you a more successful and efficient debater.


Clipping is a breach of academic integrity. I will vote against the team who clipped and assign them 0 speaker points if sufficient cause/admissible evidence is proven. Debate is an intellectual activity that mirrors real academic and industrial encounters, so the violators will have to face the harshest of consequences. Most of the time intent does not matter; it is your responsibility as a debater to take authority of your presentation.

Young Kwon Paradigm

5 rounds

Young Kwon

George Mason University

Email for speech docs (please include both):


- tech/flow/and risk-oriented

- re-inserting highlighting is okay until someone says it's not okay, at which point it becomes a debate

- I sit out a lot for the team who does better impact calc even though they might be winning a slightly lower risk of their impact

- In most cases, one devastating blow is more likely to win than death by a thousand cuts


- Try to get some verbal, nonverbal cues from people before you start your speech

- There's a high risk of communication failure if you try to go your top speed and/or talk over another person


- Wish it was more nuanced than simply "limits"

- Vague plans are hard to deal with, but they are not reasons to reject the team


- Usually aff on competition/theory for things like "should", "resolved" and other process CP variants + non-resolutional actors including international fiat. Other things are more debatable.

- Presumption flips aff when neg introduces a world even if it's less change than the squo, unless otherwise debated

- Won't kick the CP unless you tell me


- I decide more based on what was said than what cards were read, mostly because I am less familiar with the literature you're reading

- Perms are just tests of competition so they shouldn't need a net-benefit

- Most likely aff on a framework interp that prevents the plan as a source of offense.


- It pretty much has to be the majority of the 2AR for me to vote on it

- Things that will increase my propensity to vote on condo: contradictory worlds, conditional planks, more than 3 conditional worlds


- Whoever resolves the meta-level arguments will most likely win, such as is debate a game? is fairness an impact? Does TVA have to solve the aff? Can you read the aff on the neg? etc.

- Not as familiar with the literature, so it will require more connecting the dots for me. For instance, how does your theory implicate the impact neg is going for?

Maddie Langr Paradigm

3 rounds

I'm currently working in D.C. and not officially involved with any program, but will be coming to tournaments on occasion. I've been involved in debate for a while, I coached at Wake Forest while I got my masters, debated at Wake for four years, and debated for four years at West High School. Additionally, I coached Juan Diego for three years during my senior year and grad school.  I've done a bit of everything, my first six years in debate were largely more policy oriented with the occasional security K. I mixed things up my junior and senior of college and decided to focus on arguments related to gender/feminism.

*UMW note - this will be my first time judging on this topic, so don't assume I already have a background in the arguments you're reading. 

Small notes:

*A good CX will help your speaker points - I flow CX. Including arguments from CX into your speeches will be rewarded.

*Tech is very important, but does not mean that I will gut check on a ridicuous argument that lacks explanation/truth

*Affs should be pertinent to the resolution (more on this below)

*I only read evidence I think is central to my decision and do not follow along speech docs during the debate. If you are not explaining your arguments, I will not go to your evidence to collect warrants, that's on you. 



CP Theory - The only CP theory argument that I think is a reason to reject the team is condo. I tend to think conditionality (within reason) is good. 

Disads - Impact calc always! Don't make me figure out how your disad impacts interact with the aff or you'll probably lose. 

T -  I hate when teams breeze through T arguments like they're reading a card, I probably won't catch everything so slow dow or use intonation changes so I can flow your standards. Make sure to impact T - "limits" is not an impact - explain the implications for why the limits the other team has set are bad etc. Both teams should explain what affs their interpretation allows for and why the debates those affirmatives facilitate are better. 


I tend to judge a lot of clash debates, so here are some thoughts on that:

Aff framework vs. the k - probably will never vote on "you don't get a k when you're neg". Much more persuaded by interps that say you should get to weigh your aff vs. the K.

I think the role of the ballot is to vote for who does the better debating. If you say the role of the ballot is something else, you still have to win that is the best role of the ballot so I would vote for you because you're winning your arguments...  I feel like this would inevitably happen on the impact part of the debate (X is important and I should vote for it becuase it does Y). Most of the time alternative ROBs are arbitrary/just what the alt says is importnat. 

I generally think the aff should get perms. The one exception is in the instance that the aff is not about the resolution because they can talk about whatever they want and always win the perm because the neg will never have specific links to the aff since they're not predictable. 

Framework - I think presumption and framework are good arguments against some of the affs that seem to do minimal things to change the status quo, especially when the aff appears to have nothing to do with the topic. Impact framework when you're neg, predictability, deliberation and limits are all internal links. You need to explain why those things are important for the practice of debate and the skills we access within  debate. If you're neg against a non-traditional aff I don't find fairness and predictability arguments to be persuasive. You need to be making arguments about why politics is a better method/lens to solve issues the affirmative outlines. You should also be making arguments about why the skills and tools policy education provides is most important. If you win a T version of the aff could solve, I'll probably vote for you. 

Performative/Non-Traditional  - I think the aff should be about something pertaining to the topic and recommend something be done that is different than the status quo (doesn't have to be a plan).  If the aff chooses to not do this, they'll have to win why the topical version of the aff can't solve for the performance/discussion that the aff began and win an impact turn to framework. In terms of impact analysis. You should be able to explain what reasonable neg ground exists versus your aff that is within the realm of topic-reltaed research. The neg should probably get to read the deterrence disad and the aff should probably defend that military presence should not exist in a topic area (doesn't mean you have to read a plan to withdraw presence). That said, I'll still vote for an aff that is not about the topic if they win their impact turns to framework/accessibility questions.  

**New note -- I think affs without a plan are a lot better off in front of me if they have a counter-interp or a we meet argumnet on framework. The move to impact turn framework without an explanation for what you vision of debate looks like has not been successful in front of me absent a counter-interp that explains how you can access the neg's framework impacts and create an educational model of debate that allows the neg to have ground. 



29.2 and above - I think you should get a speaker award

28.8 and above - I think you should clear 

28.4-28.7 - I think you're a 4-4 level debater

28 - 28.3 - Understand your arguments, but still have some technical learning to do

27.6-27.9 - lacking technical skills/knoweldge of your arguments

27.5 or below - you have done something offensive


Steve Larue Paradigm

3 rounds

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Miriam Leany Paradigm

6 rounds

Experience: 3 Years (Local and National Circuit)
I am fine with anything, as long as its well warranted and impacted throughout the round.
As a debater I favored the K, I'm not a fan of theory but will vote off of it if the abuse scenario is clear.

Plans, CP, DA, T- all are perfectly fine
Ks- Love a good K, prefer the K to be specific rather than general. Slow down on tags and alts. Dont assume I know every weird philosophy.
Theory- Default competing interps and no rvi. Slow down so I can understand the shell. I prefer abuse thats already happened.

Things I like-
Sass, Specific cases, comprehensive overviews and good roadmaps.

Things I don't like-
Needless hostility, Racism, Sexism, Xenophobia, Polls, Disclosure Theory

Have fun :)

Albert Li Paradigm

4 rounds

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Janice Li Paradigm

5 rounds

Janice Li

8+ years experience with college debate (2 as debater, 6+ as coach/judge), 5+ with high school debate

I judge policy debate only.

I attended NYU and debated for the team formerly known as NY Coalition. After graduating, I regularly volunteered at college tournaments to judge and coach for CUNY and NYU. I moved out to California a few years ago, made the switch to high school debate and began volunteering with Bay Area Urban Debate League (BAUDL).

As of right now, I only judge and do not coach or write args, so I am not hip to what's new and I don't know the detailed intricacies of the topic. I also took a year off (2018-2019 schoolyear) but I'm making a return for 2019-2020!

The basics

  1. Do you. I'll listen to everything fairly: CP/disads, T, all of the specs, theory, every type of K, non-USFG, advocacy statements, non-topical affs, performance, etc.
  2. Tag team cross-ex is fine.
  3. I'm strict about time, and I will keep time.
  4. I don't want to be on your email chain.
  5. I care a lot about the activity of debate. Respect the space.
  6. Find me at if you have questions.

- - -

The longer version

  1. Run what you want, but if the opposing team questions the validity of your argument/style/presentation, you MUST answer that back. Make sure to do the necessary work on framework and role of ballot to explain why you run what you run and why I should vote for you. Also, even if you win framework, you still need to show how you "win" framework by accessing it better with better impacts. Speaking of which, the impact story should be clear by the end of the 2AR/2NR (that is, what impacts do you have, how do they outweigh, and how do you uniquely access them?).
  2. I have a notably high threshold for any voters. If you like going for these, you need to do a lot more work than "opponent dropped, ergo we win" in your final speech. Violation needs to be crystal clear and impact of their violation needs to be reasonably real for me. In-round examples will help a lot. I can and will vote on future implications (that is, potential abuse) if you can explain why it matters now.
  3. Be clear. Do not mumble and do not speed-read incoherently, and please differentiate tags/cites from the rest. Slow down on theory and procedurals. If the way you prefer to win rounds is merely by speaking fast, you probably shouldn't pref me because I probably won't be able to flow everything.
  4. I care a lot about education, particularly in a way that challenges normative thinking. This also means I like analogies, metaphors, real-life examples, and general analytics as long as they make sense and draw connections rather than make assumptions. Also, expand and be specific; education doesn't mean the same thing nor is all education equal. What kind of education are you talking about? What kind of fairness? What does access mean?
  5. Speaker points: To be honest, I'm still calibrating my speaker points. I like pop culture references and things that make me laugh. I also give high speaks to good strategic decisions made in your speeches, especially if you're behind on the flow. On the flip side, making me cringe on the cross-ex is not good.
    • 29+ I think you're one of the top debaters at the tournament and will get a speaker award
    • 28s You're good, made good args and probably will break
    • 27s My average score; you did the right things but have many things to still work on
    • 26s You're in the wrong bracket and are missing fundamentals
    • 25s You said something super offensive and/or disrespected the debate space
  6. Evidence: In 99% of debates, you should be clear enough that I don't have to look at your cards.

- - -


I debated in the awkward transition to paperless; everyone had tubs and expandos, but people began to flow on computers and some began to have e-versions too, but they just gave their laptop over.

From what I can tell, no one does paper debates now, and it's a net beneficial thing for the environment.

With that said, figure out how you're sending/receiving before the 1AC. Be verbal during prep; tell me when you stop prep, and when that happens, you should actively be saying "I'm sending the email over now" or be pulling the flash drive out of your computer.

- - -

More about me

I live in San Francisco and do policy/advocacy work for a non-profit org there. I also ran for office in 2018 and won my seat on the BART Board. I truly love the activity of policy debate and think it's important and that it matters. I only volunteer as judge. I think I got a lot more "anything goes!" since transitioning from college to high school debate, but I'm generally value-neutral or agnostic to specific arguments.

Adi Limaye Paradigm

5 rounds

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Dan Lingel Paradigm

4 rounds

Dan Lingel Jesuit College Prep—Dallas for email chain purposes for school contact

Updated for 2020-2021 topic
27 years of high school coaching/6 years of college coaching
I will either judge or help in the tabroom at over 20+ tournaments

****read here first*****
I still really love to judge and I enjoy judging quick clear confident comparative passionate advocates that use qualified and structured argument and evidence to prove their arguments. I expect you to respect the game and the people that are playing it in every moment we are interacting.

***I believe that framing/labeling arguments and paper flowing is crucial to success in debate and maybe life so I will start your speaker points absurdly high and work my way up if you acknowledge and represent these elements: label your arguments (even use numbers and structure) and can demonstrate that you flowed the entire debate and that you used your flow to give your speeches and in particular demonstrate that you used your flow to actually clash with the other teams arguments directly.

Some things that influence my decision making process

1. Debate is first and foremost a persuasive activity that asks both teams to advocate something. Defend an advocacy/method and defend it with evidence and compare your advocacy/method to the advocacy of the other team. I understand that there are many ways to advocate and support your advocacy so be sure that you can defend your choices. I do prefer that the topic is an access point for your advocacy.

2. The negative should always have the option of defending the status quo (in other words, I assume the existence of some conditionality) unless argued otherwise.

3. The net benefits to a counterplan must be a reason to reject the affirmative advocacy (plan, both the plan and counterplan together, and/or the perm) not just be an advantage to the counterplan.

4. I enjoy a good link narrative since it is a critical component of all arguments in the arsenal—everything starts with the link. I think the negative should mention the specifics of the affirmative plan in their link narratives. A good link narrative is a combination of evidence, analytical arguments, and narrative.

5. Be sure to assess the uniqueness of offensive arguments using the arguments in the debate and the status quo. This is an area that is often left for judge intervention and I will.

6. I am not the biggest fan of topicality debates unless the interpretation is grounded by clear evidence and provides a version of the topic that will produce the best debates—those interpretations definitely exist this year. Generally speaking, I can be persuaded by potential for abuse arguments on topicality as they relate to other standards because I think in round abuse can be manufactured by a strategic negative team.

7. I believe that the links to the plan, the impact narratives, the interaction between the alternative and the affirmative harm, and/or the role of the ballot should be discussed more in most kritik debates. The more case and topic specific your kritik the more I enjoy the debate.

8. There has been a proliferation of theory arguments and decision rules, which has diluted the value of each. The impact to theory is rarely debating beyond trite phrases and catch words. My default is to reject the argument not the team on theory issues unless it is argued otherwise.

9. Speaker points--If you are not preferring me you are using old data and old perceptions. It is easy to get me to give very high points. Here is the method to my madness on this so do not be deterred just adapt. I award speaker points based on the following: strategic and argumentative decision-making, the challenge presented by the context of the debate, technical proficiency, persuasive personal and argumentative style, your use of the cross examination periods, and the overall enjoyment level of your speeches and the debate. If you devalue the nature of the game or its players or choose not to engage in either asking or answering questions, your speaker points will be impacted. If you turn me into a mere information processor then your points will be impacted. If you choose artificially created efficiency claims instead of making complete and persuasive arguments that relate to an actual victory path then your points will be impacted.

10. I believe in the value of debate as the greatest pedagogical tool on the planet. Reaching the highest levels of debate requires mastery of arguments from many disciplines including communication, argumentation, politics, philosophy, economics, and sociology to name a just a few. The organizational, research, persuasion and critical thinking skills are sought by every would-be admission counselor and employer. Throw in the competitive part and you have one wicked game. I have spent over twenty five years playing it at every level and from every angle and I try to make myself a better player everyday and through every interaction I have. I think that you can learn from everyone in the activity how to play the debate game better. The world needs debate and advocates/policymakers more now than at any other point in history. I believe that the debates that we have now can and will influence real people and institutions now and in the future—empirically it has happened. I believe that this passion influences how I coach and judge debates.

Logistical Notes--I prefer an email chain with me included whenever possible. I feel that each team should have accurate and equal access to the evidence that is read in the debate. I have noticed several things that worry me in debates. People have stopped flowing and paying attention to the flow and line-by-line which is really impacting my decision making; people are exchanging more evidence than is actually being read without concern for the other team, people are under highlighting their evidence and "making cards" out of large amounts of text, and the amount of prep time taken exchanging the information is becoming excessive. I reserve the right to request a copy of all things exchanged as verification. If three cards or less are being read in the speech then I prefer that the exchange in evidence occur after the speech. I don't understand why people exchange paperless speeches that do not contain evidence.

Mark Little Paradigm

6 rounds

Email chain:


Current: OES (Oregon Episcopal School) 7 years


- Cornell assistant coach

- UW debater

- Interlake debater (long time ago)


1. Open to any argument.

2. Debate is a game. You get to set the rules, except for speech times, speech order, and prep time.

3. Tech > truth. I am deeply suspicious of truth claims in debate. I endeavor to be flow centric in my judging.

4. Don't steal prep.

5. Debate is a scholarly activity. Sharp use of excellent ev is compelling to me.

6. If I seem grumpy, it just means I'm engaged and interested.

Comments on specific lines of argument:


The general rule is that T is great, subject to the exceptions below in the "Substantive arguments" section. Innovative interps or well carded args on T are refreshing.

Theory other than T

I vote for and against theory args.

- Condo / dispo: make no assumptions about the number of neg positions a team gets. Default to dispo (its ok to kick). Need justification for condo (its ok to contradict). Willing to change these defaults.

- Framework / T USFG: sure, but you will be more successful if you also engage substantively with the aff even if you don't ultimately go for those args in the 2NR.

- ASPEC, OSPEC, etc: if they are meaningful arguments, no problem voting for them.

- Novel or resurrected theory: explain it, win it, and the ballot is yours.


Straight forward. A couple of pet peeves:

- "Perm do both" is not an argument. Perms need an explanation of how they function and why they disprove competition.

- "Perms are severance and VI" is not an argument. As a default, perms are a test of competition and not an advocacy, barring an actual shift by the aff.


Mild preference for Ks grounded in the topic or with meaningful links to the aff. Links of omission are usually not persuasive.

Lorelei Lockner Paradigm

6 rounds

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Louinn Lota Paradigm

6 rounds

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Jesse Mackinnon Paradigm

3 rounds

From the newest Superman/Batman trailer: "He has the power to wipe out the entire human race. If we believe there's even a 1% chance that he is our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty."

Huh, I didn't know that Batman was a Policy debater.

My experience:

Coaching Public Forum primarily for four years. Extensive experience with Parli. Limited experience with Policy and LD.

What I value in the debate round, in order:

1) Topicality. The team that can get me to vote on case will most often win my ballot.

2) Clash. The team that most directly addresses and refutes their opponents arguments will win my ballot.

3) Links. The team that can provide critical analysis of their evidence and cogently explain why it supports their case will win my ballot.

4) Flow. The team that can refute their opponents and effectively defend their case will win my ballot.

What about impacts?

Unless the resolution literally deals with NATO-Russian relations, I am entirely unconcerned with nuclear war. Some far-flung impact calculus is so intellectually lazy that it's insulting. Batman is a bad debater, and he should feel bad. Go Superman.

What about theory?

It does have a place in debate. However, I prefer that it be used sparingly.

K - In four years of judging, I have only voted on a Kritik a handful of times. I have no philosophical objection to them, but ultimately this is a difficult route to obtaining my ballot. If you run a K, particularly an Aff K, they absolutely must be Topical. For example, the last K I voted on was a Cap K, and the resolution dealt with the economy.

T - If Neg decides to run Topicality, it must be so simple and obvious that even a parent judge could understand. In short, if you have decided to run a T before another debater has had the chance to open their mouth, you might as well concede the round now. That is abject dishonesty, and I will relish taking off and nuking your speaker points from orbit.

Other judging preferences:

I value the strength of reasoning and the clarity of argumentation in debate. If it hasn't been made abundantly clear at this point, I don't want to have a lengthy discussion about the nature of Debate unless that is what the resolution pertains to. I have discussions about the nature of Debate in the bar with the other coaches after the tournament is over.

Unfortunately over the course of the years, I have encountered teams which deliberately falsify important evidence in order to gain an unfair strategic advantage. I reserve the right to use the Internet to fact-check a round while it is in progress.

I am fine with speed, so long as the Debater is actually enunciating their words. Please do not use speed as a weapon in the round.

Please feel free to employ witty humor, biting sarcasm, and above all creativity in your round.

Kevin Mahoney Paradigm

5 rounds

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Ahmed Malik Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated for 4 years in high school. That said, I’ve been out of the debate scene for about a year now. This is my first year judging at a large tournament, but I’ve judged at a much smaller scale before. I’m somewhat familiar with what the topic entails, but not familiar with any related abbreviations, cards, or main affs/negs. Explain things to me as you would a small child.  

I’m fairly open to any argument as long as you justify you’re claims and what you’re advocating, as well as impact those justifications. Consider me a tabula rasa judge.   

Debate is sweet. When done correctly, debaters can deliver very powerful speeches, advocating ideas they are passionate about. Education comes first. Both sides of the debate, and myself, should walk away educated in some capacity. Beyond the education aspect, feel free to be as entertaining and expressive as you want, and this will likely factor into a bump in your speaker points.


Please make my life (and yours) easier by providing me a roadmap at the beginning of your speech. Also, please do a line-by-line rebuttal. Keep the debate organized.  


I’ll vote on them. I like the DA debate. Make sure you have valid claims and plausible impacts. Please nail the link. If someone argues an impractical or absurd claim, call them out on it and provide a counter-argument.  


I’ll vote on them. The CP should be competitive to the affirmative plan and solve for probability, magnitude, and/or timeframe.  


Don't run Theory. Like, seriously try not to.


I’ll vote on them. Didn’t debate much K’s myself but my coaches were all mostly K debaters so I picked up quite a bit. I find the K debate to be enjoyable. Don’t expect me to know anything regarding your K, however, so set up a proper framework and explain the K to me as if you’re explaining to a small child. Kudos for crafting the debate style and presentation to be in sync with the K argument. If you’re opposing the K argument, explain to my why their framework is bad for the purposes of our debate.  


I have been out of the debate scene for about a year so although I don’t mind spreading per se, I recommend not going too fast. If I can’t understand you or you’re going too fast, I will tell you to be clearer, or I will just stop flowing. Slow down when reading taglines and the important parts of your card.   


My favorite part of policy debate. I won’t factor the cross-x into my flow, but I do enjoy watching good discourse. That said, its up to you to do cross-x how you want. I’m totally fine with tag team cross-x. You can use Cross-X to prep if you want, but I don’t find that as good practice.  

Paperless/Prep Time

Prep time ends when the flash drive leaves the computer. You’re given the amount you are given so don’t go over, and if you repeat this offense I will dock you.  


I flow on paper. If I stop flowing, this probably means I can’t follow your argument or you’re going too fast.  

Impact Calculus

Please engage in impact calc. Impact calc can win you rounds. Between probability, timeframe, and magnitude, prove you win on two of the three.  

Overall, anything really goes. Make the debate engaging and really hone your rebuttal speeches. At the end of the round, provide me with a solid impact calculus and reasons for why you should win the debate. Dropped arguments will result in 25s, so don’t do it.  

Likes: Natives, Space, Impact Calc, Philosophically Engaging Debates, Schopenhauer, Foucault, Cap-K

Dislikes: Rude people, T/Theory, ASpec, OSpec, Heg Debates, Cap-Good

Joshua Martin Paradigm

6 rounds

tl;dr yeah, you can go fast

Yes, I would like to be on the email chain:

The 2020-21 season is the first one in like, forever, where I didn't work at a camp and haven't done any summer work on the topic, so I have way less topic knowledge than I usually would and it might help you to keep that in mind.

Debated in college for UC Berkeley, have coached high school and college teams, etc. In grad school now doing a bit of coaching and occasional judging but I'm not plugged into the circuit hardcore. My own argumentative evolution has been from a pretty exclusively K debater early on to almost all policy work by the end, though I've coached all kinds. For what it’s worth, if you need an easy way to rank me, I lean more and more towards enjoying straight-up policy debates the more I judge. It's tough to disentangle "what are you a good judge for" and "what are you gonna have more fun watching" sometimes, even though they're definitely different, so I'm just gonna be honest and say that if you have no good reason to pick the K or the DA or which of your affs you're gonna read, might as well read the policy one. Regardless, same stuff everyone says: debate like you want to debate, explain things and impact them, tell me why you winning or losing an argument does or does not influence my decision, and have fun. Otherwise, here’s some random thoughts:

- I’m probably at least 60/40 towards voting negative in the default, stereotypical framework debate. I'm a larger percentage towards the negative in my ideal universe, but those numbers are based on how teams usually perform. Predictability and debatability sound like pretty important things to me, but that doesn't mean any given neg team executes properly. I think like most everyone I’d rather here some clever unique strategy, but I dislike the dichotomy that framework isn’t a “substantive” argument and that the negative “didn’t engage the aff” by reading it. It's a good argument.

- I’m generally unpersuaded by arguments along the lines of “the permutation/framework/etc. is violence/stealing our advocacy/etc.”, arguments that the negative doesn’t have to disprove the affirmative, purely nihilistic alternatives, and K speeches that consist entirely of buzzwords where you expect me to fill in what I already know about your concepts. I’m not afraid to give decisions which consist mostly of “I have no idea what you were talking about most of the time” if you just repeated the words “rhizome” or “foundational antagonism” at me, even if I know what you were trying to mean. Additionally, I'm super not down with arguments that are about things outside of the debate, like "show us your prefs" style stuff. I think the other team needs like a ten second defense of "you can only critique stuff we actually said" and I'm checked out.

- Evidence comparison, and calling out your opponent’s terrible, terrible evidence for what it is, is both extremely important and probably the best way to rack up your speaker points, alongside detailed impact calculus.

- My favorite debates to judge are: huge in-depth case throwdowns, techy aff-specific counterplan debates, K on K clashes that are grounded in true disputes in the literature, impact turn debates (on the case or against a DA/K), and well-executed topicality debates. My least favorite debates to judge are: theoretically questionable process CPs, bad framework debates, "here are my 18 impact cards tagged Extinction" DA debates, bad word PICs and silly reps Ks, and poorly-executed topicality or theory debates. I am relatively neutral to politics debates, but I also think their technical and constantly updating nature means they have the highest potential to be truly excellent examples of good debating.

Laila McClay Paradigm

2 rounds

Laila McClay
Director of Debate, Sonoma Academy (2015-2019)
Director of Speech & Debate, St. Vincent de Paul High School (2005-2015)


I value clarity above all else. I think signposting is really important. Slow down for tag lines (I am not looking at your speech doc).

My big picture philosophy is that I want to minimize judge intervention as much as possible. I DO NOT want to be part of your debate. In a close debate my RFD will often include the language "the least intervening way I could vote was..."

HOWEVER, I have found recently that I do have a preference for arguments that do something. And, when weighing arguments that do nothing (high theory goo) against deeply held identity arguments (race, gender, class, etc) I have a pretty high threshold for how the high theory goo team interacts with the identity/performance team; don’t use your high theory to say to someone in an oppressed group that their personally perceived oppression is a fiction. Ultimately, I think that debate is more than a game. I think debate is an activity that has incredible potential to transform the way teenagers think and interact with the world. Arguments that seek to or have the effect of pushing students out of the activity are bad for debate and that is where an ethos moment on that point MIGHT be able to sway me from my predisposition to only evaluate the flow. None of this is to say I don’t also like/understand/read high theory goo, just that I think there is a responsibility on the part of teams who read these arguments to see how what they are saying probably comes from a point of privilege and has a specific interaction with the lived experience of the other debaters in the room.

More specifics:

Kritiks – ONLY READ K’s THAT YOU UNDERSTAND. For the AFF, you need to engage with the K. I think the Perm debate is probably the most important part of the K debate. The Neg shouldn't group all the perms. They Aff should make multiple perms. I like smart debaters who do their own work and know what they are talking about.

K Aff's/Performace - I am fine with all of this. Be smart and show me you know what you are talking about. I tend to be a little more comfortable when the AFF has some sort of stable advocacy statement, but that is just a default and not a requirement.

I think morally repugnant arguments should be answered by the other team with in-round discourse/language shapes reality arguments.

Each speech is a speech act, not a written exchange of arguments. Debaters need to pay more attention to what is said rather than just relying on what is in the speech doc.

Tracy McFarland Paradigm

3 rounds

Tracy McFarland

Jesuit College Prep

Updated for GDI workshop tournament - I do not think T -substantial makes sense versus the death penalty - it's, you know...death...seems substantial to me. Substantial also modifies criminal justice reform - not the enact biz - no reason why sheer numbers is the way to measure CJR particularly when CJR like MM would impact some unknown future number of defendants, for example.

Updated 9/27/19

Please use for speech docs. I do want to be in the email chain.
However, I don't check that email a lot while not at tournaments - so if you need to reach me not at a tournament, feel free to email me at

Evidence stuff:

Jesuit is not open source - and if you think our cards are good, you should enjoy the experience of reading the good research. While I know that there are many people who disagree with me, I think that reading other people's cards disincentivizes hard work and cultivates unethical academic practices. And, for the record, there's no small school arg here - in fact large schools benefit more from this model (where you read other people's cards without recutting them) because they have more access to more open source docs in debates. I will disregard Jesuit evidence read by another team whether that's an argument made or not. Doesn't mean I will auto-vote against you but not going to vote on cards we cut that you use.

I DO NOT mean that you can't take cites and recut the evidence - in fact getting cites from someone and recutting the evidence is good. BUT, if for example School A debate School B in round 4, then School A uses ev read by B against another B team, that's unethical. TEAM'S SPEECH DOCUMENTS ARE NOT OPEN EVIDENCE FILES. Know the difference. If there is a Jesuit cite you can't access because of a lack of access to resources, please email me and I will provide a full text of the article or book - I pinky swear.


This topic seems T-complicated. Substantially may not be your best bet - especially if it's an arbitrary % that doesn't have a baseline comparison. Topicality is about competing interpretations for me, unless you tell me otherwise. Negatives should explain what allowing the affirmative in the topic would allow— ie what other affirmatives would be allowed and what specific ground or arguments you have lost out on. Affirmatives should, in addition to making counter-interpretations, explain why those counter-interpretations are good for the topic.

Case lists are underutilized in these debates – both about what they exclude and realistically justify on both sides of the topic. Topical version of the aff is an important but not a must have – especially if you are partially trying to say that they are SOOOO bad I shouldn’t want them to be a part of the topic.


Counter plans are good -- but I think that Affs underutilize solvency advocate based arguments. If you are going to have a CP with a ton of different elements, neg should be able to support that with solvency evidence that supports the whole CP not just the elments. If you are neg, you should still do these mutliplank cps if you like but the aff can win a solvency deficit if you don’t have someone to advocate all of it together. Asserting a not accurate way the government works to make a claim about neg CP also should be contested by the aff - and so should dates of the evidence being used to justify the CP. Specific counterplans that reflect you did some work in research the aff = good for the neg. Process counterplans less good b/c they usually show that you didn’t do the research on the aff. Also, I don't know why climate offsets is a CP - it's more like a plan, opposite of the plan debate????


Also enjoy a good disad debate—used to include politics. But alas, Trump has ruined many things for me - including this. I am more persuaded by the args that center on congressional internal links - that are not dependent on pretending like Trump is consistent with pol cap theory in poli sci. 2020 is a thing - but I find myself not really thinking that the link + internal make sense. I do think it is possible to win zero risk of the politics DA. I do think that affs should make a bigger deal about how that zero risk of the DA means that any risk of a solvency deficit on the CP means should vote Aff. But alas, you probably won't, then I will have to default to my engrained any risk of the DA if the CP solves mostly wins a debate. I also am very persuaded the base DA gives into racist logic - and probably should be a reason to vote aff. But alas, you probably won't make that argument with warrants.

For other DAs, much like my previous discussion of topicality and the kritik, explain the link specific to the affirmative – you can and should have multiple link args in the block that help build your story about why the aff triggers the DA. Assess how the impact of the DA relates to the case impact. Overviews should be specific to the aff not a reiteration of magnitude probability and time frame - as this results in awkward comparisons especially on this topic. Offense is a good thing but defensive versus a disad may be enough to win. In other words, any risk of a DA does not mean you win on the Negative (unless perhaps it’s a CP net benefit)—there is room for Affirmatives to make uniqueness, no link, and impact arguments that erode the DA so significantly the Negative doesn’t win much a risk versus the Aff. Good case debates with solvency or impact turns make for appealing and compelling debates. Negatives can win on case turns alone if the impacts are developed in the block.


Contrary to what some of you might think, I really do enjoy a good kritik debate. The difficulty I have with kritiks really lies with Negatives who do not, again, believe that specificity is our friend. I am not of the “if link, then lose” camp: the Negative should, through evidence and link narratives, explain how more ‘generic’ evidence and the K applies to the Aff. For example, explain why the aff’s use of the state is bad; don’t just assert they are the state therefore they must be bad. The other place to be sure to spend some time is explaining the role of the ballot and/or the role of the alternative. Addressing how the alternative solves or address in a better way the harms of the aff (ie by getting to the root of the harms, etc) is a good thing. Affirmatives in some debates I have watched this year concede too much of the link—utilize the strategic nature of your aff versus the kritik link to argue both turns and no link arguments. This will arguably force Negatives to explain how your aff links beyond the fact you use the state. Likewise on this topic it helps Affs with the perm debate. I think that topic specific K much better than your hodgepodge throw some authors together ks. Also not a huge fan of death is inevitable so we should give up now or alternatives that incorporate “suicide” as an alternative. Both sides when initiating framework arguments need to think through what they are getting out of the framework arguments – don’t just blindly go for it if you could get by with simply meeting and conceding their framework, thereby doing their thing better than they do it.

Performance/non-instrumental use of the rez

While I am compelled by arguments about the need to redress exclusion in the debate community, Negatives should challenge, and the Aff should defend, the importance of the ballot in redressing those exclusions. If the neg can explain why the same education and same exploration of privilege can occur without the ballot, I am very persuaded by those arguments. However, in these debates I have judged, I have almost always voted for the team advocating non-instrumental use of the topic because this often goes unchallenged. I think that if you are aff and running an advocacy statement, you should have some reason why that is better than a plan on the ready -- assuming the neg challenges this. Even if the reason is that the plan ties you to the state and that is a problem, you need to be able to explain why you cant accomplish your business with a plan. In these debates it seems that negatives often forget that even if they are only going for framework, they will still need to have a reason why the aff ROB or method is bad. Otherwise, the aff will make some arguments (as they should) that their method is offense against traditional understandings of debate/T/framework. I do think that the performance should be tied to the resolution when you are aff.

Theory – Aff/Neg

If there is a legit reason why what the other team has done has eroded your ability to win by creating a not reciprocal or not level playing field, then initiate the arguments. I understand the strategic value creating a time trade off might get you. However, you should think about whether or not you have some compelling args before going for the arg all out or in the 2nr/2ar. Multiple contradictory framework type args are an underutilized arg when there are k alts and cps in the debate---especially if any or all are conditional. Be concrete about what they are doing and what the justify in order to make “impact” arguments.

New aff theory - I don't have anything else in my philosophy like this (that just say no to an argument) but "new aff disclosure theory" arguments are silly to me. Aff Innovation = good, and incentivizing innovation by giving a strategic leg up to affs by getting to break a new aff = good. I've got more warrants if you want to chat about it - I know some of you feel very strongly about this - but it doesn't make sense to me. You should not probably spend the time to read your shell even if its supershort. Affs should say "competitive innovation = good". And that'd probably be enough.

Certainly, new affs mean that the neg get to make a bunch of args - and that I probably am more sympathetic on issues like no solv advocate, multiple cp, condo, etc - but yeah, no, new affs = good not bad.

Stylistic Issues (Speed, Quantity)

Clarity is important and so are warranted arguments and cards – say what you would like but be clear about it. If you have many argument but you have highlighted down the evidence to 3-5 words, you have also not made a warranted argument. Also, “extinction” is not a tag. Some highlighting practices have become so egregious that I think you're actually highlighting a different argument than the author is actually making.

Speaker Point Scale

Decent debate = 28 + ; more than decent gets more points. You can gain more points by having proper line by line, clash, good evidence with warrants, good impact comparison. You can lose points by not doing those aforementioned things AND if you are snarky, condescending, etc.

Additional Comments:

Productive cross-examinations add to speaker points and help to set up arguments---needlessly answering or asking your partners cx questions subtract from speaker points. Did I mention flowing is a good thing?

The line by line is important as is the evidence you read, explain and reference by name in the debate. Line by line is the only way to clash and avoid “two ships passing in the night” debates. Line by line isn't answer the previous speech in order - it's about grounding the debate in the 2ac on off case, 1nc on case.

I do tend to read evidence on important issues – so the quality of your evidence does matter as does how much you actually read of it. I am persuaded by teams that call out other teams based on their evidence quality, author quals, lack of highlighting (meaning they read little of the evidence). You should flow – you can’t do anything else I’ve outlined without flowing – and like, actually flow, not copy the speech doc..

Mariah McHenry Paradigm

3 rounds

2010- 2013 Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School
2013 - 2015 UT Dallas

I will vote on whatever you tell me as long as it's impacted and you've extended warrants. Even in critical or theory debates, the flow still matters so please do not ignore/concede half the round unless you explain why are you able to do that. Do not assume that I am thinking their argument is just as stupid as you do. I guess I'll go on to more specifics. You really should tell me how to evaluate the round and do some impact calc. I do not want to do the work for you and odds are the more work you make me do, the less likely it is to end up in your favor. Clarity is important. I have to be able to flow you. If you're not clear, I will yell it a few times but after I start to look really annoyed, don't expect the courtesy. My face is really expressive so you will know what I am thinking - use that to your advantage.

T - My threshold on T is pretty high. If you are going to go for T in front of me you have to do two things: 1) spend all of your 2nr on it. Sounds like common sense but you'd be surprised. 2) Impact it out. I get that you think limits and ground matter but why? How do they relate to your voters and how do they impact the round as a whole? If you do these two things it is substantially easier for me to vote on T.

Theory as a whole - same thing as T pretty much. May want to slow down on these a bit especially if you think it will become a big deal in the debate, just want to be on the safe side. If it's impacted properly, not entirely unwarranted, and better than the other team, I'll vote on it.

CPs - Anything goes as long as you answer the theory on it. Be sure to compare the cp to the aff in terms of net benefits

DAs - Again, I'm game for anything, just be sure to do some impact calc on how it turns case and you're golden.

Ks - I have a fair understanding of a few K's. In college, I read Sexual Difference and Multiplicities so I have a pretty good understanding of these arguments. The basic K's like cap and security I ran a lot in high school. You should be sure to explain a few things to increase your chances of winning: Explain specifically how it links in terms of the aff (so even if the evidence isn't specific, explain exactly what aff did to link) and explain how each link is a possible da to the perm. Explain how the alt interacts with the world of the aff and resolves their impacts (if they have any left). Framework is also a possibility for me to vote on if its impacted properly. All types of Kritical Affs are fine with me. Please explain what the alternative does coherently to resolve your impacts and don't just reread the tag because you don't know.

In sum, if you explain and impact your argument, I'm fine with whatever.

Rory McKenzie Paradigm

6 rounds

Current coach/DOF at Lindale High School.

For email chains: mckenziera @

CX - This is where I have spent the majority of my time judging. While I am comfortable judging any type of round, my preference is a more traditional round. Debate rounds that are more progressive (kritikal affs, performance, etc...) are totally fine, but you'll do best to slow down and go for depth over breadth here. I think that judges are best when they adapt to the round in front of them. Writing the ballot for me in the last few speeches can be helpful.

LD - Despite judging policy debate most, I was raised in a traditional value and criterion centric area. Still, I think that policy debates in LD are valuable. See my notes above about progressive argumentation. They're fine, but you'll probably need to do a few things to make it more digestible for me. Again, though, you do you. Writing the ballot for me in the last few speeches can be helpful.

PF - I judge only a few PF rounds a year. I'm not up-to-date on the trends that may be occurring. I naturally struggle with the time restraints in PF. I generally feel like teams often go for breadth instead of depth, which I think makes debate blippy and requires more judge intervention. I'd rather not hear 20 "cards" in a four minute speech. Framework is the most reliable way to construct a ballot. Writing the ballot for me in the last few speeches can be helpful.

Congress - Speeches should have structure, refutation, research, and style. Jerky Parliamentary Procedure devalues your position in the round.

Speech - Structure and content are valued equally. I appreciate, next, things that make you stand out in a positive way.

Interp - Should have a purpose/function. There's a social implication behind a lot of what we perform. I value great introductions and real characters.

Abhishek Mehta Paradigm

5 rounds

UC Berkeley '19 - Go UC BERKELEY DEBATE!

Debated for Chattahoochee High School in Georgia 2011 - 2015

Judged For: College Prep, Hooch, Bellarmine

Updated  2/2/2016

Debates Judged on the Surveillance Topic: 15

Debates Judged on the Oceans Topic: 35

Debates Judged on the Latin America Topic: 9

A few thoughts on debate.

Tech vs truth - TECH matters. Truth still matters somewhat - arguments need a claim and warrant + spin is hugely important for how I read evidence. Also, make sure to answer arguments like "turns case" and "counterplan leads to the plan" in the 1AR, even if you know your evidence is infinitely better.

Read what you are good at and go with it. I'll try to evaluate every argument to the best of my ability. That being said, I am far more familar with case, da's, topicality, and counterplan arguments than I am with critical literature. I may not be the best judge for performance debate but that doesn't mean you can't read those arguments. Try your best!

Debate matters more than cards. that doesnt mean i wont ever call for them, but id rather go off my flow. if i have to read cards then i usually reconstruct the debate based off of the evidence as opposed to the actual debating. Flowing is important; the biggest flaw of paperless debate (among many) is the transition to over relying on the speech doc

Any sort of ethical violation (clipping cards, cross reading) will result in an immediate loss and a 0 given to the violator, if sufficient evidence exists. if you dont have enough evidence, dont stake the debate on it

Speed/clarity - debate is a communicative activity. If I don't comprehend an argument then I'm not going to flow it. I'm not sure who the source of this quote is, but it's great advice: "Speed is the number of arguments you make that the judge thinks the other team has to answer".

Srinidhi Muppalla Paradigm

I don't have any strong argumentative preferences. I don't think a dropped argument is true if I don't understand what the argument is.


LD: I've never debated or coached this format. It doesn't make any sense to me. I don't care about most of the theory arguments introduced. 

Alma Nicholson Paradigm

4 rounds

I am a coach and teacher at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. I have been involved with debate on the local, regional, and national circuit as a competitor, judge, and coach for more years than I care to put in print.

Non-traditional Debate Warning: If you are looking for a judge that is into non-plan, non-topical K affs, poetry, or other interp affs, I am definitely not the best (or even second best) judge for you. I love a good POI, Oratory, and DI, but I love them in those event categories.

Speed: Once upon a time, I kept a fairly fast and thorough flow. I think that I still keep a good flow, but perhaps not as fast. I am older now (it happens to us all), and my hands hurt a bit more, so I find that I need a little time to warm up to the pace. Another issue concerning speed is that debaters, more often than not, think they are clearer than they actually are. Paperless debate has made this worse. I'll usually try give one "clearer" or "louder" warning per speaker, but after that, either you or your partner had better be paying attention to my facial expressions and whether I’m flowing. I have a terrible poker face, so it will be pretty obvious. If I don’t flow the argument or card text then that argument or card text it is not in the round and I am definitely not going to ask about it. I am inclined to be more impressed with a debater who is clear, efficient, and persuasive who speaks slightly slower than a debater who feels the need to show me their mad spreading skills. In terms of speed and T, theory, and k’s: SLOW DOWN - slow way down (see notes on kritiks). Please read my comments at the end of this page concerning the ever growing negative aspects of paperless debate.

The Role of the Affirmative: I expect the affirmative to advocate the resolution through TOPICAL PLAN action. Yes, the aff must have a plan and it must be clearly stated in the AC. If you want to run a critical aff stating that the resolution is racist, ablest, ageist, or anything else that suggests an unwillingness to affirm the resolution at hand, as written, then I am not going to be a good judge for you. I am possibly willing to listen to a critical aff that advocates the resolution. (Please see my notes on kritiks later). Performance/Project teams will probably find it a challenge to meet my view of the affirmative's role.

Topicality: It’s a voter. I like a good T debate that involves actual evidence and a description of why the aff does not meet the interpretation. The standards debate should include a viable limits argument. Why is the affirmative's interpretation of limits bad for debate? If you are going for ground, make sure you impact why it's a big deal to you in the round, and/or even for debate as a whole. Negative teams who plan to go for topicality should be prepared to go “all in." At best, you could weigh “T” and one other position. You’re unlikely to get much ground or be terribly persuasive if T is one of 3 or 4 positions in the 2NR (And really, why have four positions remaining in the 2NR?). Impact analysis on T is just as important as it is on any other position. Don’t bother to kritik T with me in the room. T is not racist. Do not run RVI’s on T. It is worth noting that a T debate needs to be a bit slower due to its needed explanation, but it does not need to be handled as slowly as a kritik.

Counterplans: Preferably, counterplans are non-topical, which creates a clearer division of ground. Counterplans also need to be clearly competitive. A CP that is basically just steals the plan is probably not competitive and is just stealing ground, but the idea of PICs can be debated in round. Conditional CP’s are probably a bad thing, but the debate as to why must be specific. A clear net benefit is better for competiveness. If going for the CP in the 2NR, the negative does not automatically get the assumption of the Status Quo as the alternative in place of the CP as a voting issue. This choice must be explained in the 2NR. The aff should definitely argue whether the neg can operate in multiple worlds, or must treat the CP as their new advocacy. Note: I find most severance perms abusive. When I have voted on such a perm, it has usually been because the neg mishandled the flow and allowed the aff to get away with it. The neg needs to note that it is the affirmative’s job to advocate their plan, in its entirety, through the 2AR. It is one thing for the Aff to kick an advantage, but it's an entirely different thing to sever part or all of the plan. Affirmatives should not argue that the "neg does not get any fiat." That's ridiculously limiting.

Disadvantages: I’m old school policy, so I like disads. Disads should have a comparable risk to the net benefits of the AC and/or serve as a net benefit to the CP. There should be a significant link debate (offense/defense) and a clear impact calculus. I hate it when teams wait until the 2NR/2AR to finally weigh the impacts. Reading more cards is not weighing an impact; it’s just reading more cards. An impact calculus requires clear analysis. I will put as much effort into weighing the disad risk as a decision calculus as you spend trying to persuade me that the argument is worth the vote.

Kritiks: Despite Newman having a new director that is well known for his love of the K, I have not grown to love kritiks. This is definitely true in terms of non-topical K affs and neg kritiks that probably have little to do with the actual plan. Some teams have become overly reliant upon them (running the same position every single year) and use them to avoid having to debate the topic or debate policies they don’t like. I find that most kritiks have ambiguous implications at best and the alternative (if there is one) is often not an alternative at all. I have found myself voting for some of these arguments, despite my not even understanding the position, because the other team failed to explain clearly why the argument has little bearing in the round or fails to point out the shortcomings of the alt. You should also be aware that I most likely have not read the critical literature you are referencing and citing. I have a rudimentary understanding of philosophy. I was not a philosophy major. I do not plan to go back to graduate school to study philosophy. If you plan to run any critical positions in my presence, you must do the following:

1) Slow Down. Really. Slow. Down. I mean conversational speed slow down

2) Explain your position clearly – no blippy tag lines or argument extensions

3) Have a specific link

4) Have a clear alternative – something more tangible than “being part of the ___ mindset," “avoiding the evils of capitalism,” or "do nothing." Huh??

Despite my personal disposition on the kritiks, the opposing team will still need to say more than “The K is bringing down policy and should go away.”

Performance/Project Debates: I’m still a cost-benefits analysis policy judge at heart. I have not changed my mind on the position that performance/project positions leave little ground for the opposing team. I have no idea how to weigh your performance against the other team’s position (performance or traditional) for the purposes of winning a debate.

Cross Ex: CX is important for fleshing out a strategy and provide clarification of arguments; I generally think that answers in cross ex are binding. I actually listen to cross ex, often take notes and even find it interesting. I also find it not that interesting on many occasions. Tag team CX is okay, but avoid taking it over. Not being able to handle your cross ex will result in lower speaker points. Taking over a partner’s CX will also result in lower speaks. CX starts when the speaker is finished. If you need 30 seconds to “set up” then that will come out of prep.

Role of the Ballot: My ballot determines who wins the round. That is all. If you win, you are (perhaps) one round closer to clearing. If you lose, you are (perhaps) one round closer to not clearing. My ballot does not send a message to the debate community; it is not a teaching tool; it is not an endorsement of a particular action or philosophy.

Theory: Save theory debates for when they really need needed and warranted. Too many debaters are running theory as their “go to” argument. Debating theory as a "default" argument every round cheapens the arguments and makes judges less likely to take them seriously. Do not run any theory arguments against Topicality (see above).


Paperless Debate: Speaking style has simply become worse with paperless debate. Card reading has become choppy, debaters have problems toggling back and forth on the computer, debaters are taking liberties with prep while flashing or emailing speech docs, and instead of flowing the arguments as they are being presented, debaters are back-flowing from flashed material that may or may not have actually made it into the speech. Some judges have resorted to reading the email chain. These are all poor debate practices. Teams are saving paper and tons of money when flying, but debates have become sloppy.

Prep Time: Your prep ends when you have finished loading the flash drive and hand it off to the opposing team. If an email chain is set up, your prep ends when you hit “send.” This means that you are standing up to speak. If you start conversing with your partner, I will continue to run prep and I will probably dock your speaks for stealing prep.

Flowing: Do it. Follow the flow, not the “flashed” cards. Do not mess up my flow!!

Label Arguments: “First off, A-uniqueness” is not a label for my flow. Label each off case – every single one of them. When you move to the case debate, be clear as to where you are and when you are moving on to another advantage, etc. This is also true for the 1A; the AC needs to be crystal clear.

Reading Cards Post Round: I rarely do so. To get me to read a card requires a specific request during your speech and an explanation as to why and what I am looking for exactly. If I am part of the email chain, this does not mean I am automatically going to read cards. If I call for a card without you requesting it or go to the email chain without direction then something was so unclear that I felt I had no choice. This presents an opportunity to intervene, which I do not like doing if I can avoid it.

Card Clipping: It’s cheating. Don’t do it. If an accusation is brought up in the round, I will take it seriously (even stop the round if necessary). If you bring it up as an accusation, you need to be darn certain you are correct. Be clear where you stop reading a card if you do not finish. "Stop card" is probably not clear enough.

As we say in New Orleans, “Be Nice or Leave”. It is fine to be competitive, but have fun. You are competitors in the round, but you should be friends outside of the round. Being a jerk in the round will not lead to friendships and it will definitely hurt your speaker points.

Toni Nielson Paradigm

6 rounds

Toni Nielson

Executive Director - Bay Area Urban Debate League (2013-2017)
Co-Director of Debate at CSU, Fullerton for 7 years (2005-2012)
Debated in College for 5 years
Debated in High School for 3 years
Rounds on the Topic: less than 5

Email Chain:

I just want to see you do what you are good at. I like any debater who convinces me the know what they are talking about.

Here’s what I think helps make a debater successful –

1. Details: evidence and analytics, aff and neg – the threshold for being as specific as humanly possible about your arg and opponent's arg remains the same; details demonstrate knowledge
2. Direct organized refutation: Answer the other team and don’t make me guess about it – I hate guessing because it feels like intervention. I'm trying to let the debaters have the debate.
3. Debating at a reasonable pace: I ain’t the quickest flow in the west, even when I was at my best which was a while ago. I intend on voting for arguments which draw considerable debates and not on voting for arguments that were a 15 seconds of a speech. If one team concedes an argument, it still has to be an important and relevant argument to be a round winner.
4. Framing: tell me how you want me to see the round and why I shouldn’t see it your opponents way
5. Comparison: you aren’t debating in a vacuum – see your weakness & strengths in the debate and compare those to your opponent. I love when debaters know what they are losing and deal with it in a sophisticated way.

Some style notes - I like to hear the internals of evidence so either slow down a little or be clear. I flow CX, but I do this for my own edification so if you want an arg you still have to make it in a speech. I often don't get the authors name the first time you read the ev. I figure if the card is an important extension you will say the name again (in the block or rebuttals) so I know what ev you are talking about. I rarely read a bunch of cards at the end of the debate.

Now you are asking,
Can I read an aff without a plan? I lean rather in the direction of a topical plan, instrumentally implemented these days. This is a big change in my previous thoughts and the result of years of working with young, beginning debate. I appreciate policy discussion and believe the ground it provides is a preferable locus for debate. So I am somewhat prone to vote neg on framework must implement a plan.

Can I go for politics/CP or is this a K judge? Yes to both; I don't care for this distinction ideologically anymore. As far as literature, I lean slightly more in the K direction. My history of politics and CP debate are more basic than my history of K debate.

Theory - lean negative in most instances. Topicality - lean affirmative (if they have a plan) in most instances. I lean neg on K framework which strikes me as fair negative ground of a topical plan of action.

Truth v Tech - lean in the direction of tech. Debate, the skill, requires refuting arguments. So my lean in the direction of the tech is not a declaration to abandon reality. I will and do vote on unanswered arguments, particularly ones that are at the core of the debate. Gigantic caveat, I will struggle to vote on an argument just because it is dropped. The concession must be relevant and compelling to the debate. I will also be hesitant to vote on arguments that fly in the face of reality.

Here's what I like: I like what you know things about. And if you don't know anything, but get through rounds cause you say a bunch and then the other team drops stuff - then I don't think you have a great strategy. Upside for you, I truly believe you do know something after working and prepping the debate on the topic. Do us both a favor: If what you know applies in this round, then debate that.

Good luck!.

Eric Oddo Paradigm

2 rounds

 I am the Head Debate Coach at Niles West High School.

Concordia University-Chicago
Master of Arts in School Leadership
Wake Forest University
Master of Arts in Education
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Juris Doctor
University of California at Santa Barbara
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy & Political Science

Debate arguments:
I will vote on any type of debate argument so long as the team extends it throughout the entire round and explains why it is a voter. Thus, I will pull the trigger on theory, agent specification, and other arguments many judges are unwilling to vote on. Even though I am considered a “politics/counter plan” debater, I will vote on kritiks, but I am told I evaluate kritik debates in a “politics/counter plan” manner (I guess this is not exactly true anymore...). I try not to intervene in rounds, and all I ask is that debaters respect each other throughout the competition.

Pierce Oeflein Paradigm

4 rounds

Background: 1 years LD, 1 year policy in high school, 2 year policy in college.


I have a pretty extensive philosophical/critical theory background, so the K is fine.

My only qualm is that if you want me to care about theory, spend time on actually expaining the theory, speeding through point a-p and moving on will make me not care. This is kinda is true for me on all arguments though, but especially theory.

Everything else goes, I'll vote on anything that is well articulated and wins on the flow. Please try to signpost.


I also go to Berkeley, so if you want tips on places to eat or anything else after the round let me know.


TL;DR: Do what you want, pal.


Miles Owens Paradigm

6 rounds

General Thoughts – I try to be as tab as possible. However, I think everyone inevitably comes in with some preconceived notions about debate. Don’t feel like you have to adapt to my preferences – you should do whatever you do best – but if what you do best happens to be judge adaptation, here are some of my thoughts:

Framework – All I ask is that you engage each others’ interpretations--don’t just read and extend. Look to my comments on topicality if you're interested in how I try to evaluate the standards debate. 

Case Debate – I think case-specific strategies that integrate intelligent on-case arguments into the 1NC can be really compelling. 

DA/CPs – The more specific the better, but I’ll vote on anything. 

Kritikal Debate – I like kritikal debate, but I think it’s much more persuasive when it interacts with the 1AC/2AC. For example, I like specific 2NC link analysis (doesn’t necessarily need to be carded) that points to arguments being made in the 1AC/2AC, and I like 2NC attempts to gain in roads to the case by suggesting the alternative is a necessary precondition to case solvency. I'm fine with kritikal affirmatives so long as you explain the significance of voting affirmative. A general note: given that I'm trying to evaluate your arguments as though I'm hearing them for the first time, please operate under the assumption that I'm completely unfamiliar with the literature you're reading. 

Topicality – My threshold for T is the same as any other type of argument, but like all other positions, there are central issues that the 2NR needs to resolve in order for me to vote on T. If neither team articulates a framework within which I can vote, then I’ll default to competing interpretations, but I’d much rather not have to default to anything. Assuming I’m voting in a competing interpretations framework, I think of standards – or reasons to prefer – as external impacts to a vote for a given team’s interpretation. That means I think that comparative impact calculus has a huge place in a 2NR that’s going for T. Explain to me what debate looks like if I vote for your interpretation and why that vision should be preferred to one that would allow for cases like the affirmative. Also, it’ll be a lot easier for me to vote negative if there’s in-round abuse. 

Theory – It’s easier for me to evaluate theory debates when one actually happens, which means engaging the other team's arguments and not just reading blocks and talking past one another. If you expect to win on theory (independently), you should probably give me some kind of substantive reason why a given violation merits a rejection of the team, and not just the argument. 

Non-Traditional Debate – As long as I’m provided with a standard for evaluation that I feel both teams can reasonably meet, I don’t care what you do. 

In Round Decorum – Don’t be mean, but try to have fun. 

Speed – As long as you’re clear, I’m fine with speed. 

Speaker Points – 27.5 is average. I'll add points for things like clarity and efficiency, and I'll subtract points for particularly messy debating.

If you have any specific questions, please ask. Feel free to email me after round with questions:



Daniel Park Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated policy and LD at Lynbrook for 4 years and also some NPDA parli at UCLA. The best thing in debate for me was to have a critic with an open mind and the ability to listen to anything. I'll try to be this critic and always make my rfd based on how you tell me to frame the round provided.

I'm a huge fan of good T debates but please signpost well and slow down from your top speed.

Have an interpretation and articulate voters early in the round. The more time you spend on theory in the constructives, the more comfortable I'll be pulling the trigger.

I often went for agent cp/ptx as the 2N and believe that counterplan+disad strategy is one of the best answers to most policy affs. If you're reading politics, make sure to win the uniqueness debate and have solid evidence.

Ask me about specific K lit before the round but I've read most of the popular authors used in debate. Please warrant your arguments and focus on articulating how the alternative functions in relation to the affirmative. The K should interact with the case at a substantive level by turning some of the internal links. Also, most K debates come down to the perm so win and use the framework debate to your advantage.

Aakash Pattabi Paradigm

1 rounds

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Dan Perdomo Paradigm

6 rounds


Experience: I was a debater for five years (4 years hs, 1 year open college policy) a long time ago. The last time I made a speech or cut a card was in 2009. I judge lots of debates a year. For the past two years I have mainly judged LD, Parli, and PuFo. I do not listen to a ton of fast rounds anymore. I flow on paper.

I like critical/performative debates*. I am a "big picture"-style judge. I don't like the "heg good" debate. I don't like procedural debates.

I don't dig "heg good," "cap good," or full-blast circuit speed very much but I will do my best to place myself in whatever framework you give me (read: Give me one). I have a reputation as a K hack even though I vote on topicality all the time. See below for more detailed thoughts on critical debates.

You won't win the round on defense, but you can beat the offense. One contextual, well-explained perm is better than 2 dropped blippy perms. Perms are a test of competition, but that still means I weigh the opportunity cost of world of the perm vs. world of only the counter-advocacy. "Judge-kick" is not a thing unless you tell me it is, by default I evaluate every world present in the 2NR as best I can.

I think a multiplicity of debates is good. I am usually not persuaded by most arguments in favor of excluding "non-traditional" debate, and generally hesitant to drop a team on T or theory if I can avoid it (unless it's dropped, you prove blatant in-round abuse, or you crush it technically). I don't like playing the debate police. If you're going to go for T or theory in front of me, you need to really go for it. You should have some sort of big-picture abuse story that demonstrates the kinds of debate you wanted to have that they have prevented you from having, and reasons why those debates are important enough to reject the team. To be persuasive, the procedural needs to be the centerpiece (preferably your entire) 2A/NR--I think presence of another decently-developed generic argument in the 2NR could sometimes be enough to solve the offense on T, and case-specific turns or link stories pretty much prove no in-round abuse. Condo can be a voter if there are multiple mutually-exclusive worlds in the 2NR. I am often persuaded by reasonability, and I often reject the argument but not the team. Despite these preferences, don't hesitate to go for these arguments in front of me if you really think they are the best strategic decision, lots of my neg ballots are for topicality.

I tend to be very laid-back in terms of decorum: I really don't care if you tag-team CX or speak from your seat as long as your delivery doesn't suffer. I don't time evidence flashing unless it begins to take an inordinate amount of time. Oral prompting is fine, but I only flow what comes out of the designated speaker's mouth. I listen to CX but usually don't flow it. I don't call for speech docs and will try not to call for evidence unless the quality of specific cards or warrants are explicitly brought up in the round.

There is no 3rd rebuttal: your job as a debater is to clearly communicate your arguments to convince me to sign the ballot your way and adapt a little if I don't happen to be your ideal judge. If you have not done this than no amount of post-debate hassling will change the decision. This is in fact a great way to get a 25 from me.

Notes for surveillance topic: I haven't done research on it, and haven't coached any kids on it. I have judged policy at one bid tournament (La Costa) and two regionals this year. I don't know the commonly used cards by name. You need to be specific and explain stuff to me like I am a small child.


*So here's the deal: I only did critical debate for a couple years and I'm not a philosophy or rhetoric major or anything, but I am into a lot of these authors in an amateur capacity. Don't assume I already understand your k, or know what it is based solely on the author's name. You will need to explain which Žižek you happen to have brought to our debate round, and tell a good clear story about what your k means for the debate. In k debates I tend to prefer the style of delivery to somewhat gel with the content of the argument, so I'd really rather not watch you say you create a critical pedagogy of the oppressed at 300 wpm as one of 3 possible 2NRs. Extending tags and saying "they cause genocide" is not persuasive. I don't like hyper-generic "you use the USFG"-style link arguments and can usually be persuaded by a well-explained perm in those cases. I think that sometimes specific legal reforms can create specific material gains for specific oppressed people that impact their daily lives, but I also think that real radical change probably would require a revolution. I believe no debate is outside the world: this round has a social/historical/spacial location and does not happen in a magical non-place. This applies to both sides of a clash of civilizations debate: your arguments are advocacies in an educational space--external impacts are only valuable as far as they inform debate practices/discussions which may or may not produce good education. This means they do not on-face outweigh arguments which indict the kind of education your methodology produces. This is honestly the only model of debate that makes sense to me, and I'm often at a loss when teams ask me to weigh nuclear war scenarios against the K because they are "more real world." As you may have guessed my natural bias is definitely toward the left but I try my best to vote within a framework laid out by the debaters--that means comparing competing frameworks and explaining what my ballot does and how I should evaluate impacts. I am fine with critical affs, non-topical affs, performance affs, whatever, but like anything else you need to justify what you do in the round. Though I encourage teams to make the debate round whatever they want it to be, I don't feel comfortable when teams ask me to actively participate/intervene in the discussion; this puts me in a weird position in terms of choosing a winner and I don't really feel it's possible for me to participate without in some way telling the debaters what to say. All this means is that in such a situation it is impossible for me to be an impartial adjudicator; I am open to arguments that I shouldn't be--but this is definitely something that needs to be addressed.

If you are running anti-blackness, you should read this article first:

Donny Peters Paradigm

4 rounds

Donny Peters

Assistant Debate Coach

Damien High School

16 years coaching. Before Damien I have coached at; Cal State Fullerton, Santa Magarita High School, Fairmont HIgh School, Illinois State University, Ball State University, Wayne State University and West Virginia University.

I have been judging/coaching for 15 years, mostly college. After reading over paradigms for my entire adult life, I am not sure how helpful they really are. They seem to be mostly a chance to rant, a coping mechanism, a way to get debaters not to pref them and some who generually try but usually fail to explain how they judge debates. Regardless, my prferences are below, but feel free to ask me before the round if you have any questions.

Evidence: This is an evidence based activity. I put great effort to listening, reading and understanding your evidence. If you have poor evidence, under highlight or misrepresent your evidence (intentional or unintentional) it makes it difficult for me to evaluate your arguments. Those who have solid evidence, are able to explain their evidence in a persuasive matter tend to get higher speaker points, win more rounds etc.

Overall: Debate how you like (with some constraints below). I will work hard to make the best decision I am capable of. Make debates clear for me, put signfiicant effort in the final 2 rebuttals on the arguments you want me to evaluate and give me an approach to how I shold evaluate the round.

Nontraditional Affs : I tend to enjoy reading the literature base for most nontraditional affirmatives. I'm not completely sold on the pedagogcal value of these arguments at the high school level. I do believe that aff should have a stable stasis point in the direction of the resolution. The more persuasive affs tend to have a personal relationship with the arguments in the round and have an ability to apply their method and theory to personal experience.

Framework: I do appreciate the necessity of this argument. I am more persuaded by topical version arguments than the aff has no place in the debate. If there is no TVA then the aff need to win a strong justification for why their aff is necessary for the debate community. The affirmative cannot simply say that the TVA doesn't solve. Rather there can be no debate to be had with the TVA. Fairness in the abstract is an impact but not a persuasive one. The neg need to win specific reasons how the aff is unfair and and how that impacts the competitiveness and pedagogical value of debate. Agonism, decision making and education may be persuasive impacts if correctly done.

Counter plans: I attempt to be as impartial as I can concerning counterplan theory. I don’t exclude any CP’s on face. I do understand the necessity for affirmatives to go for theory on abusive counterplans or strategically when they do not have any other offense. Don’t hesitate to go for consult cp’s bad, process cps bad, condo, etc. For theory, in particular conditionality, the aff should provide an interpretation that protects the aff without overlimiting the neg.

DA's : who doesn't love a good DA? I do not automatically give the neg a risk of the DA. Not really sure there is much else to say.

Kritiks- Althoughout I enojy a good K debate, good K debates at the high school level are hard to come by. Make sure you know your argument and have specific applications to the affirmative.My academic interests involve studying Foucault Lacan, Derrida, Deleuze, , etc. So I am rather familiar with the literature. Just because I know the literature does not mean I am going to interpret your argumetn for you.

Overall, The key to get my ballot is to make sure its clear in the 2NR/2AR the arguments you want me to vote for and impact them out. That may seem simple, but many teams leave it up to the judge to determine how to prioritize and evaluate arguments.

Vivienne Pismarov Paradigm

4 rounds

I have not judged any rounds on the immigration topic - however, I am informed about the world so I get what's happening and that shouldn't prevent me from knowing what your aff is or anything. That being said, things that may seem obvious to you may not seem obvious to me, so explain yourselves and really flesh out topicality debates.

Experience: I debated for 4 years at Notre Dame in CA (2011-2015) and I currently debate at the University of San Francisco.

General Notes:

1. I am definitely very, very flow oriented. That being said, to have a full argument you need to make a claim, warrant, and impact. If those things aren't there, I'd rather not do the work for you and simply reward the team that did.

2. Other than that, you do you. I'm down to listen to anything you want to talk about if you can defend it well.

3. I'm super easy to read. If I'm making faces, it's probably because I am confused or can't understand what you're saying. If I'm nodding, that is generally a good thing.

4. Be good people. There's nothing I hate more than people being unnecessarily rude.

5. There is always a risk of something, but a low risk is almost no risk in my mind when compared to something with a high risk.

6. I'll always prioritize good explanation of things over bad cards. If you don't explain things well and I have to read your evidence and your evidence sucks, you're in a tough spot. That being said, I would rather not call for cards, but if you think that there is a card that I simply need to read, then say so in your speech.

7. Tasteful jokes/puns are always accepted. They can be about anything/anyone (ie Jacob Goldschlag) as long as its funny :)

Topicality: I love topicality debates because they're techy and force debaters to really explain what they are talking about in terms of impacts. That being said, 2nr's/2ar's really need to focus on the impact debate and explain to me why education is an impact or why I should prefer a limited topic over an unlimited one. Reasonability is debatable. I was a 2n in high school and I lean towards a more limited topic, but I'm very easily persuaded otherwise.

K Aff's: I am very convinced by most framework arguments on the negative side. I think that K aff's need to be closer to the resolution than not and I do not think that many of them are. However, this does not mean that I will not vote for a K aff; I just have had trouble understanding the proliferation of Baudrillard and Bataille affs, so if you are aff, you will definitely need to be doing a higher level of experience. I think Cap K's versus these aff's can be very persuasive, but I also think Framework makes a lot of sense if the aff isn't topical. That being said, do you and make smart args. I'm not the most literate in a lot of high-theory literature, so if you want to play that game in front of me, do it BUT explain your theories and I'll catch on quick.Framework: I think that "traditional" framework debates fall prey to a big exclusion DA from the aff. I think we should be able to talk about K affs and that they should be included in the topic - HOWEVER I believe that K aff's do need to prove that they are topical in some way. I lean more towards the neg in framework debates because I do think that many K aff's have little to do with the topic, but there have been so many times when K aff's actually engage the topic in a great way. That being said, on the aff be closer to the resolution and on the neg, explain how your interpretation and model of debate interacts with the aff. Most teams forget that the aff will always try to weigh their impacts against framework, which sucks because it is hard to resolve real world impacts versus theoretical arguments about fairness and education.

Theory: I will most likely lean neg on most theory questions unless a CP is simply very, very abusive, but even those can be defended sometimes :)

Disads: I love disads, specifically the politics DA. Prioritize impact work! Despite my love for DA's, most of them are dumb and you can easily convince me that they are dumb even using analytics and indicting the neg's evidence. However, I still love DA's and wish I got to go for them more in high school. Good politics debates make me happy.

Counterplans: Everything is debatable in terms of theory, so do you. If a CP is very abusive, hopefully the aff says so. If the aff concedes planks of your CP, you should make sure you say that. I think all CP's need a solvency advocate, otherwise it will be hard for the neg to win solvency and potentially theory.

Kritiks: I really like the K when the link debate is specific and I can articulate a SPECIFIC link and reasons why the aff is bad. Fair warning - I am not the most literate in high-theory arguments. This doesn't mean I won't listen to your Baudrillard K's, but it means that I have a very high threshold for SPECIFIC links and also simple explaination of the argument since I will most likely be confused until you explain yourself. The neolib k was my baby in high school and I think it answers everything. Security was Notre Dame's main thing when I was there so go for that too. Teams need to explain what I need to prioritize first, whether that is epistemology, reps, framework, or whatever, just make sure you say so! I don't like overviews and I am a big believe in putting your link and impact work where it makes sense on the line by line because it will always make sense somewhere.

Kim Pressling Paradigm

3 rounds

Not Submitted

Gokul Ramadoss Paradigm

3 rounds

I'm comfortable with speed but clarity is crucial (especially on analytics) because it's been a long time since I've judged a round.

Flash me your speech docs -- it obviously won't count as prep time, but it helps me follow along and prevents card clipping.

Please please please make sure there's clash. From my experience K debates tend to devolve rapidly into generic arguments so I definitely prefer a good policy debate, especially because I'm not too familiar with obscure K lit -- that being said, I understand a straight-up policy round is not entirely possible on this topic. Neg Ks: if you argue a concrete link and show why the Aff is a uniquely key instance I'll definitely hear you out, but for generic Ks my threshold is very high (unless it's a new Aff or a K Aff). K Affs/Performance/Ks of Debate: if you're going to run one, you absolutely need to define the role of my ballot.

I have a high threshold for theory, but of course it's a voter. Basically treat it, and T, like disads; impact calc still applies.

Quaram Robinson Paradigm

2 rounds

I’ve finally been forced to make one of these, my hesitancy in making one is I paid way too much attention to these when I was a debater and they rarely actually predict how someone evaluates debates, your intuition about how someone feels is often more accurate than their self representation.

Believe it or not, I’m open to judging a variety of debates, not just ones that involve the kritik.

Anyways, add me to the email chain:

I believe that the debate should be guided by the debaters, not the judge. I believe this implicates the way that I judge debates, I am very persuaded by anyone who frames the debate and explains how I should be evaluating the debate, so I would opt in for more judge direction than you might for another judge. Embedded clash is fine, but I think there are limits to this before we get to judge intervention, and I have to feel comfortable feeling like these arguments existed prior to my evaluation.

Speed: make sure I’m flowing at the rate you’re speaking, I will be clear with facial cues if I am not.

Topicality, I feel competing interpretations are easier to evaluate. Do not spread too quickly through the 2ac, it’s important I catch these arguments.

Clash debates, apparently as punishment for my career because I didn’t get enough of these for myself I’ve been summoned to judge all of them. Just kidding, I’m happy to be here and genuinely do not mind a good clash debate. With that being said, I’m very familiar with both sides of the arguments and I feel the issue in a lot of these debates is that people operate from extremely ideological standpoints that I don’t find persuasive.

I think I’m less persuaded by the “we solve your stuff better than you by making you better advocates stuff” and more interested in what your model of debate does outside of solve the affirmatives impacts.

I think that affirmatives should be grounded in the topic. I like when debates are early breaking. Both in terms of how your affirmative interacts with framework and more broadly whatever your critique of topicality is make it clear earlier than later.

Fairness is an impact. With that being said, many iterations of this argument do not make it to the point that it can be voted for as an impact.

Not that persuaded by the idea of rev v rev debates, and similarly am not that persuaded by third and fourth level testing.

I do not think that the neg has to win a TVA to win topicality, it can be helpful but often times find it leaves too much open for the affirmative and is not your responsibility to provide a way to solve the affirmative.


I’m familiar.

Links are important, you should have some.

Debating the case matters, I could be persuaded that debating the case does not matter but that would require a significant investment in framework.

If you are reading a K that’s a hodge podge of K’s make sure you’re making an argument that’s consistent, I am very open to the argument that incompatibility of kritiks means _____ for the debate.

aff v K: win framework arguments. Don’t just repeat your framework shell from the 2ac, that won’t go very far for me.

DA’s - I would love to see you go for a disad and case in the 2NR.

CP’s do your thing, I will say I don’t prefer overly complicated counterplans with terribly under highlighted evidence.

Some people are convinced that it’s completely true politics discs and certain CPs are terrible for debate, I am not in complete solidarity with that.

Love a good case debate

I don’t believe in a politics of respectability, I’m not going to ask you to be respectful to your opponents but what I will ask of you is to engage each other in good faith, what that means is genuinely try to engage with each others arguments and don’t make characters of them with strong ideological claims.

Christian Rodriguez Paradigm

4 rounds

2016 updated


Tech outweighs truth, great spin/technical debating can beat higher quality ev when you have only decent/kinda bad cards, I'm more flow oriented when judging, these are my defaults, you can change them by making arguments about it though.

DAs - pointing out logical holes and good analytics get really far with me and can completely take out a DA. Zero risk is possible. Don't drop "DA turns and/or solves the case". I'm more willing to listen to intrinsincness arguments than most people, I like them, but there are good neg answers too.

CPs - CPs that do the aff are illegit, but if you can defend them read them. Theory is always an option against bad CPs. I really like theory debates, but impact calc is incredibly important here. You really need to slow down so I can write down what you said though, I can be persuaded that abusive counterplans extended in the block are voting issues even if the neg doesn't go for it in the 2NR, but the 1AR has to spend a lot of time on why this is true. The neg can obviously beat this if dealt with, and it would take actual work for me to vote on it, not a 1-second blip. That being said, if you can defend these CPs theoretically, you should go for them.

K's - Aff's get to weigh implementation of the Plan. I am not a good judge for the K.

T/Theory - Give examples of what affs would be justified by the aff's interp. Impact comparison between standards is crucial. I'm open to either reasonability or competing interpretations. Theory is always an option in front of me, if you can't beat dumb things like T-substantial, you should lose. The text of your interpretation matters to me.

K-affs - You must read a Plan.

Nancy Romo Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated for 4 years at South East High School, and I'm a third year at Cal. I've judged at BAUDL and LAMDL tournaments before as well as the Cal Invitational.

I will vote on any arguments that are explained thoroughly and convincingly; I don't have an opposition to any specific types of debate. You do you, just make sure that you explain yourself well.
I am okay with spreading, as long as it is clear.

Aditya Rout Paradigm

6 rounds

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Steve Rowe Paradigm

6 rounds

Last updated on 1/10/20/

For Public Forum, go to the bottom.

Please add me if you are starting an email chain: steve _at_ interlakedebate _dot_ org

CX / Policy Philosophy:


If you are a policy team, I am probably good for you. If you are a team that runs Ks on the neg or K/Soft left impacts on a policy aff, I am probably fine for you. If you run a K-aff, read below.

First and foremost, I judge based on the flow. I will do my best to determine the winner based on what has been said. This makes line-by-line refutation and dropped arguments important. I will do my best not to impose my opinions and values into the round. That being said, I am not strictly tabula rasa. See below for exceptions. By default, I will take a utilitarian approach.


I want to see clash. This means that negatives should not ignore the 1AC. Affirmatives need to respond to the negative positions as they are presented not just read a generic block that only sort-of applies. If you are merely extending your own cards and not responding to the other side’s arguments, your speaker points will be lower.

I am fine with speed, but you need to be clear. Remember that, as a judge, I often do not have a copy of the evidence on my computer. If I can't hear the words as you read the cards, you are going too fast for your ability. If I am going to judge on the flow, you want to make sure my flow matches what you said. This is especially important when it comes to theory. Reading your theory block at full speed guarantees that I won’t be able to flow it all. Slow down on theory.

Be nice. I will react negatively if you are arrogant or rude to your opponents. This applies to your partner as well. I do not want to see the debate personalized. Feel free to attack and characterize your opponents’ arguments as you like, but refrain from attacking your opponents themselves. Their arguments may be *-ist. Your opponents are not.

My pet peeve is flowing. Rather, teams that don’t flow. If you have to ask about whether your opponents read each card or if you respond to positions and arguments that they didn’t read, your speaks will be hit.

I enjoy the occasional theory debate, but it must be developed well. Everything you say needs a warrant. Develop your arguments if you want me to consider them. I am unlikely to decide an entire round based on an issue explained or extended in less than five seconds.

I am unlikely to find *-spec persuasive unless there is in-round abuse.


I will vote on topicality. I evaluate it as a technical argument, no more dominated by truth than any other type of argument. I find myself drawn to the definitional debate over other aspects of T. That means you should focus on standards, definitions, and the fallout from those. I’m more persuaded by limits than ground. I will be unlikely to vote for reasonability unless there is a standard to determine whether something is, or is not, reasonable. I am unlikely to be persuaded by arguments that tell me to ignore topicality.

Kritikal Affs

It is my belief that the resolution must play a critical role in scoping debate and allowing for clash. To that end, while I will vote for a critical aff, I expect it to be germane to the resolution. Affs which are anti-topical will lose if the negative carries a reasonable version of that argument through to the end.


This is my home turf. I want to see clash. Spotting the affirmative their advantages and trying to outweigh them with disads is not a good strategy. Contest the internal links and/or impacts. Run solvency takeouts. These make your off-case much more persuasive.


I am happy to vote on kritiks. You need to explain how I should be evaluating the k versus the case. Teams should feel free to challenge the a-priori status of the kritik. There needs to be some kind of benefit to the world of the alt. At the end of the day, I will be weighing it against the case. A K without an alt is just a non-unique, linear disad.

I expect that critical arguments will be supported by the evidence. This should go without saying, but I have seen teams give entire 2NCs that are not based on anything but their own opinion. Analogies and extrapolations are fine, but the basis for the analogy or the extrapolation should be in found in evidence.

Running a kritik is not an excuse for sloppy debate. I see too many kritik debaters that rest on truth over technical and ignore the structure of the debate. Direct refutation and line-by-line are still important even in the kritik debate.

I was primarily a policy debater in my day. I have judged many critical rounds and read some of the authors. My knowledge of them is reasonable, but if you run something outside of the common ones, explain it clearly.


I try not to impose my views on the debate, but that requires debaters do a good job in the last two rebuttals crystalizing the issues and telling the story of the round. "We win the entire flow" is not usually true and is not a good way to weigh the issues. Tell me why your winning of the disad overwhelms the advantage of case or why their rhetorical slight is more important than structural violence. Make sure there is a traceable lineage to your arguments. I am strict on new arguments from the 1NR onward. Tell me that it’s new and, if true, I’ll strike it. You must tell me though. If you don’t, it counts. I will do my best to protect the 2NR from new 2AR arguments.


If you watch me, I tend to emote my opinions.

Many have asked: Tag-team CX is fine. I only request that the person who is “supposed” to be cross-examining be part of the conversation.


I debated policy in high school and CEDA (policy) in college for a total of seven years, including four at Whitman College. I coached college policy for one year at the University of Puget Sound and have been coaching policy debate at Interlake High School since 2012.


Public Forum Judging Philosophy:


I don’t judge PF a lot so assume that I’m not deeply educated on the topic. That said, I read a lot of economics, politics, and philosophy so I am likely to be familiar with most arguments.

The best description of me is likely as a progressive, flow-oriented judge. I will be adjudicating the round based on who presents, and extends, the better arguments. I will try my best not to intervene. If you didn't say something, I won't make the argument for you. Sounding good making shallow arguments won’t earn you a win. In the end, I want to see clash. Don’t just tell me why you are right, you have to also tell me why they are wrong.

A few points that might matter to you:

1. Speed: Keep it easily comprehensible and you will be fine. In reality, I doubt you will exceed my threshold. If you do, I’ll yell clear.

2. Dropped arguments: There is no punishment for dropping your own arguments. Obviously, don’t drop something your opponent is turning.

3. I think definitions should be used strategically to define what interpretation of the resolution you will be defending.

4. I will reward clever debating. Show me how the arguments interact. Defend ground that avoids most of your opponent’s thrusts.

Brian Rubaie Paradigm

6 rounds

brubaie at gmail, please add to email chains - thanks!

Five quick things to start 2020

1. Thank you. I am so grateful to everyone whose investment makes this unusual season possible, and in particular to debaters. I am honored to judge. I'll be patient and flexible with all the new challenges, both in adapting to a new environment and to a tricky topic.

2. I love judging every kind of debate. Policy/policy, K/K, whatever! I know folks think that's a cliche, but to me it's the core of how I have approached coaching and judging from day one. If you put time and effort into your craft I will give you my open-minded, undivided attention and will try my hardest to give you great feedback despite the argument style, record, or division I'm judging. I'm not 100% and never will be, but I've always tried to give it 100% and always will.

3. For online debate, please slow down 5-10%, go one at a time in CX, and really focus on clarity. Between camp and pre-season, I've judged 30-ish online debates. I'm confident that the stand-out performers (29+ speaker points) can do all those things, as difficult as they are to accomplish.

4. I'm curious to see what the allies topic looks like in practice. My initial thought is to be a bit sympathetic to the aff given limited options, but as the way-overextended coach of a small crew I could see myself being compelled by T against particularly expansive approaches to the topic.

5. 2020 isn't like many other years and I'd encourage you to tease that out and speak with conviction. Should some norms shift in online debate? Is 2020 a year when we need heightened political engagement before a pivotal November, when growing activism highlights the failure of traditional politics, or...? I'd love to hear from students re: questions like these. I have my own thoughts about debate adapting to its new environs, but the competitors are navigating a new form of debate in real-time and it seems they have important perspective re: how it should go down.


Short Pre-round

Stuff I know and don't know: Expert in nothing, familiar with most. Have debated, coached, and judged most everything and really enjoy most all of it.

K or policy? Why not both? I think the community's rough divide is occasionally principled but, more often, it is just sound and fury. I love great K debates and I love great policy debates. I'm more experienced at sorting policy/policy than K/K, but I'm equally interested in judging whatever.

What I will vote on: I have a lower quality filter than most. I'm not really proud or ashamed of that, it's just a fact. I lean much more heavily tech than truth. I often vote on things I don't agree with and sometimes on ones I don't feel great about. Winning in front of me is like good Southern cooking: cook up something spicy and delicious, and I'll probably avoid deeper questioning about what the ingredients are or how you cooked it up. I have very little ability to assess things from events outside the debate.

Which evidence I read: I skim 60-90% of cards as they are read, but I rarely read them in any meaningful depth. I skim to check context, confirm tags, or stay engaged. I usually only read ev which I'm directed to read and which is cited by name, but I can easily be directed to be more ev-oriented. Just tell me what to do.

What the aff should defend and what I prefer on the neg: The Aff should defend something controversial and debatable in relationship to the topic and establish a role for the Neg. The Neg should dig in on the 1ac. A 1nc with extra case often leads to extra points and Ws. I prefer fewer, better cards and a smaller number of good links etc. I also prefer a block going deep on 1-2 2NR options instead of 3-4.

What the neg can get away with: You can probably get away with more in terms of CP theory, K alt evolution, etc. in front of me than most. My tech-leaning ways tend to make me a good judge for bold 2Ns of any kind. I'm not heavily policy or K biased, but the data suggests I'm at a bit friendlier to the neg lifetime. I'm about the tech, and the aff too often just drops stuff without fighting back enough late in an attempt to recover. Speaking of...

What the aff can get away with: You can also probably get away with a more 'evolving' 1AR in front of me than most. I do punish big 2AC errors, but I also can be easily persuaded to allow some new-ish 1AR angles (i.e. "they did x, y, and z new things, we get this new 1AR thing.") I feel for the neg, but I also really admire great 1ARs that change the game after a bad 2AC.

If I were coaching a team that was neg to go for framework: I'd probably tell them to: a) Dig in and calculate an impact. I sometimes hear a big 2NC explanation that doesn't make it into the 2NR. Figure out what the 2NR impact calculus on your biggest impact sounds like. b) I often find that the neg is doing better at winning/calculating a procedural impact (fairness, ground, etc.) than a pedagogical one (skills, deliberation, etc.) That being said, do what you do, just impact it deeply. This can't be an after-thought: if you win this, you probably win the debate, and vice versa. c) Put some genuine effort into nailing down the 1AC's thesis claim/core goal and explaining why the interpretation you have forwarded can do something positive for achieving that. You don't need to win that a TVA, reading it on the neg, and/or anything else does the aff as well as the aff, but having some effective defense can go a long way.

If I were coaching a team that was aff vs. framework: I'd say to: a) Define some role for the neg and have a "debate key" claim. You don't have to give them the 1NC, but why is debate about the 1AC (and not just the act of having read it) a good thing and what do those debates look like? There should be some reason the 1NC speaking for 8-9 minutes is good. I used to be somewhat dismissive of "other stuff outside of debate solves," but I find myself voting on it more because the aff sometimes misses answering this. b) Lean more on impact turns/core aff offense than counter-interpretations. I find that neg teams are usually weakest on refuting core aff thesis points while being much stronger on procedural issues. I wouldn't abandon defense, but I would perhaps frame it more as how your counter-interp can create a stable role for the neg, desirable neg ground, more ethically grounded debates, etc. than leaning in on "we're right that 'resolved' is mental analysis."


Long pre-tournament version

1. What is the burden of the aff in the 1ac?

Up for debate, but I prefer that affs:

(a) Defend a controversial change in the area of the topic

(b) Display consistency and clarity, and

(c) Answer CX questions. If you don't do those things, I'd prefer a strategy that revolves around "those impositions are bad" vs. "why not?"

2. Constructing the 1NC

Less is more! Said this above, but smaller 1NCs that contain more cards with deeper highlighting will be rewarded. I appreciate an artful big 1NC so long as it isn't just throwing the box.

You need an argument saying "the 1ac doesn't achieve/resolve/correctly analyze (x)." I am skeptical of modern 1ac construction. Many affs (of all types) defend close to nothing. Some affs withstand heavy scrutiny, but very few survive a battle with a thoughtful 2N without some damage.

3. Earning better speaker points -- how to gain and lose points.

You will gain points if:

General -- you demonstrate rich knowledge of your evidence and can demonstrate you produced it. Extra points if it's from a book, but some additional love if it's from a peer-reviewed source, etc.

CX -- being concise, using the language of the other team, making complex things simple.

2NR -- talking about the 1AR in detail, framing/comparing instead of extending, making choices.

2AR -- isolating the 2-3 biggest issues and why you won them, making honest "even if" comparisons.

You may lose points if:

General -- being rude and unhelpful, replacing substance with noise, replacing listening with dismissiveness.

CX -- way-too-long answers, acting like the other team is stupid, making simple things complex.

2NR -- ignoring the 1AR/restating and extending the 2NC, going for too much/making bad choices.

2AR -- scattering a mix of everything in hope the neg dies by a thousand small cuts, ignoring the 2NR.

4. Evidence

Evidence quality matters, but my inclination is still to begin deciding a debate by scouring the flow before reading any evidence. I am moved by great ev, but it needs to be sold by the debaters. I am happy to give evidence quality greater priority, just tell me how and what to reward.

There are many good short tags/cards, but at a minimum I prefer tags that are at least half of a sentence and cards that are at least a few sentences. Highlighting must accurately convey the author's point.

5. Docs

I look at docs during the speech on occasion, but I don't read all of it or follow along. I will not start to follow along if you are unclear unless I'm worried you're clipping. I look at the docs most directly during CX. If you ask about a particular card directly, I'll usually be right there in the doc with you.

6. Early topic thoughts

College -- TBD

High School - CJS - I have enjoyed my initial topic reading and will update this as my thoughts clarify a bit.

7. Neg v K affs

Press heavily on what the aff does. You will get pushback on questions like "what question does the ballot answer?" etc but I like those foundational questions and want you to ask them.

Set up frameworks for competition and tell me what the role of the neg/burden of rejoinder is. If the aff is an analysis but not a proscription, does the neg win if it offers a better analysis (i.e. suggests capital and not race is more determinative of oppression?) This could be the more developed version of "you don't get a perm" -- the aff proposed an analysis of how x operates, the neg's theory of power was always distinct, etc.

Offense-defense doesn't make much sense in these debates. Does the neg have to win the aff proposing a survival strategy made the world worse? That's a high burden. Perhaps the neg needs only to win "defense" or to prove a better method.

8. Arguments/things I'm better and worse for as a judge...

Ks: I know more about structural Ks like afropessism, settler colonialism, queer theory, etc than continental philosophy/high theory/postmodernism/most Europeans. Not as good for floating PICs, better for "we don't need an alt."

CPs: The more you disagree with the aff, the better off you'll be. The less you disagree with the aff/the more you try to manufacture competition in illogical ways, the worse off you'll be.

DA/case: Yes please. I don't judge this a bunch anymore, but it's not because of disinterest. I try to do a lot of policy research and have enjoyed the early policy debates I've watched in our squad room.

9. Things I'm better and worse at as a judge...

I will listen, flow, and think with all my energy regardless of time of day, your record, division, argument choice, etc. I do not always listen, flow, and think perfectly, but that's the goal. You try to debate your best so you deserve me trying to do my best.

I'm not A+ in economic debates or with high theory. I am interested in that stuff, i.e. my first semester in my MBA has been a blast, it's just not a strength relative to IR, political science, or even some strains of critical theory like Afro-pessimism. Not saying I know much in those relative to some in debate, I just know more of the core tenets there than in branches of economics that might guide a precise difference in the text of the prizes CP.

10. All the framework all the time

Answering framework

Tell me what the biggest impact is and guide the debate through that.

Take clear, defined stances. Dismissing basic, common sense questions about what the aff does is often a bad move because it makes it look like the aff doesn't do or defend anything/makes limits more persuasive. It is much better to do the "we explained and defended this consistently and clearly the whole round" thing with me in the back.

I think the "we took a stance in the direction of the topic that locked in your core neg generics" approach is a good one. For instance, saying "we K'd all nuclear weapons/surveillance, so you get the best version of deterrence/the terror DA" is a solid answer to ground/idea testing.

Tell me what debate should look like. What is the neg doing here/what role should they play? If you can explain what ideas in the 1ac are testable and why testing them is good it goes a long way to answering a lot of neg framework args.

Address the TVA. Is the TVA T? Would "slap a plan on the aff" style TVA ever result in meaningful dialogue about the thing the aff proposes?

Going for framework

There's no singular argument on framework I favor, I just prefer direct engagement. I liked how Hemanth debated in these rounds: he made lots of comparisons, used the language of the other team, made CX matter, and broke things down very clearly. I don't even remember what his angle was. I just liked how he framed debates and treated people.

I don't get why folks quit going for fairness and limits in front of me. It's generally the thing the neg's interp most clearly resolves. I almost never say "you didn't win fairness mattered at all" or "debate is better with no rules or prior preparation." It is much more common for me to vote on well-packaged aff defense/counter-interp/doesn't solve the aff arguments that aren't addressed than it is to vote on "fairness bad."

It is not hard to convince me that the aff should be a contestable, stable, debatable thing, but many affs can persuasively argue that the stable, contestable thing they affirm isn't the USFG. Dig in on the internal link: why is the neg's model the most educational, predictable, stable, fair ground. Engage the counter-interpretation or competing model thoroughly.

Similarly, explain why the kinds of debates you want to have matter. Too often, negs just say "the aff's ground is one-sided and concessionary." That's a good start, but every good argument is a comparison. Talk about the value of debates under your model (it targets a deep literature base, i.e. space policy, IR, etc. with good arguments on both sides and tons of practical application to a wide range of issues.)

A thoughtful TVA can go a long way. Some extra time, evidence, and/or argument development here is usually time well spent. Digging into the other team's literature base is often very helpful: read Black scholars like Mills/Taylor who defend political engagement, indigenous scholars who demand accountability, etc.

Elisa Saavedra Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Steven Sander Paradigm

6 rounds

Ali Sears Paradigm

3 rounds

Hi, I'm Ali Sears.

Affiliations: Teacher at Lane Tech High School (Chicago, IL).

I am open-minded towards all arguments and will vote for policy, critical, and theory-based arguments. 

Watching a round with a kritical aff, I will vote on framework, but PLEASE also engage the content. If you plan on discussing identity-based kritiks, please remain sensitive to your opponents' experiences. I don't want to see people crying in round because of debate.

Theory and topicality are apriori issues; however I'll only vote on them if they are explained well and impacted out. If you are going for theory/T, please go slightly slower than you ususally do so I can be sure to flow everything.

In terms of speaker points, if you come across as rude/dismissive/mean to your opponents or your own partner, you can expect docked speaks.

In the end, as long as your arguments are warranted and impacted, I'll vote for them.

Mimi Sergent-Leventhal Paradigm

Background: I debated at Edina High School in Minnesota and UC Berkeley. While debating, I won the Harvard Costume Contest twice, placed third once, and won the University of Minnesota Debate No Shave November contest while I was still in high school. So yes, I am qualified to judge your debate.

I'll work hard to evaluate the round based only on the arguments presented. Everything below should be considered a bias that can be overridden through good debating.

**update for Fullerton 2017: Before this tournament, I have judged zero debates on the college topic. 


Top level:
- Absolute defense is possible

- I will not default to calling cards - this is a response to a team challenging the quality of evidence or my inability to resolve an argument without looking at them

- status quo > aff > 2NR advocacy is a reason to vote aff

- I default to rejecting the argument on theory questions

- Arguments consist of a claim and a warrant (but clarity determines whether I evaluate them in the first place)

- I will not evaluate arguments that are new in the 2AR

- High school only: I really hate all the time wasting that happens in these debates - please take the time before the debate to set up the email chain, the podium, whatever. As part of this, I have a very strong preference for 8 minutes of prep rather than 10.


Misc. thoughts about different types of arguments: 

I'm consistently confused by what exactly teams mean by reasonability so if you're going for it please take time to explain. 

CPs that do the entirety of the aff/result in the entirety of the aff through changing the process (like recommendations CPs) are likely not competitive.

I'm not very compelled by role of the ballot claims when distinct from larger framework type arguments.

These are poorly constructed and I am very compelled by people pointing that out.  

Affs that don't defend the resolution:
I would have a difficult time voting for an affirmative that doesn't defend the resolution if framework were competently extended by the neg.

- The one exception to "my biases can be overridden" is being a jerk - please don't be mean!

Khalid Sharif Paradigm

6 rounds

Experience: 9 years of policy debate

HS: Highland (SLC)

College: University of West Georgia- NDT 1st Round

Coach @ Juan Diego (UT)

Add me to the email chain

Please appropriately title emails

[Tournament/Round#/ Aff Team Code vs Neg Team Code]


Warrants > Tech > Truth

If you don't fluctuate tone and annunciate but read blocks at top speed, I am not the judge for you. You are doing yourself a disservice when you spread through blocks faster than I can flow.

I don’t care what style of debate you prefer. Instead, I’m interested in your ability to defend and advance the advocacies and arguments you find important and/or strategic. I will do my best to adapt to you unless your spreading is incomprehensible, then I won't even look at the speech doc. Some additional thoughts.

  1. Line-by-Line > Long generic overviews
  2. Clarity of thought is paramount. I often find myself voting for teams that can make complex arguments sound like common sense.
  3. Good evidence is secondary to what a debater does with it. I really appreciate evidence interrogation in speeches and cross-examination. I don't like reading cards after the debate, please put the important spin and quotations of the card "on the flow."
  4. If there is an “easy” way to vote that is executed and explained well, I’m very likely to take it.
  5. I’d prefer to judge the text of the round in front of me rather than what debaters/teams have done outside of that round.
  6. I appreciate technical execution and direct refutation over implied argumentation.
  7. Well explained meta-framing arguments usually control my ballot but aren’t a substitute for substantive impact comparison.
  8. Less is more. The earlier in a debate that teams collapse down to lower quantities of positions and/or arguments, the more of a chance I have to really latch onto what is going on and make a decent decision.
  9. Identifying what I have to resolve behooves you. Most debates are won or lost on a few primary debatable questions. If you are the first to identify and answer those questions thoroughly, you will likely be ahead in my mind.
  10. Minimizing downtime is important. Go to the bathroom and jump/email the 1AC before the round start time.
  11. If you are a very fast debater who lacks clarity, turn it down slightly otherwise I may miss important arguments. Flowing/info processing time is real, if you are speak at top speed with little vocal inflection, I may miss a whole lot.

Sam Shore Paradigm

3 rounds

Edited most recently in March 2018. I debated in high school at Greenhill School (2006) in Texas and debated in college at Michigan State (2010). I have been helping coach Greenhill since my graduation. A fair number of the assumptions that one would draw about me being affiliated with those institutions are probably true. In a given year, I will probably judge 60+ HS policy debates, ~5 HS LD debates, and under 5 college policy debates. There are a couple special notes at the bottom for the latter two groups.

Case Debates – Case debate is underutilized, there are few things that I am more impressed with than beating a team on their own aff. Although, too many teams gloss over the fact that there needs to be uniqueness for neg case turns.

Disads – Defensive arguments are important, and I am willing to assign zero risk of a disad if the affirmative has damning defensive arguments even if the affirmative lacks any offensive arguments. Negatives who rely on there always being a risk of a link will leave me unimpressed. That being said though, I often think that many times a lack of offense does result in a moderate probability of the disad.

CPs – I lean negative on most CP theory issues (more on theory below), although I’m not a fan of the consult cp. I also lean negative on legitimacy of the states CP. This does not mean that affs cannot win theory debates in front of me. Additionally I think some of the arguments that affs make as to why some counterplans are bad, tend to be much better when used as a reason why the permutation is legitimate. Negs should be sure to weigh what happens when there is a solvency deficit to the cp when making their impact calculus arguments. Conversely, affs need to have an impact to their solvency deficits.

Kritiks – Teams must articulate an impact to what happens if they win their framework arguments. I don’t think the negative must have an alternative but I find it hard for the neg to establish uniqueness for their links without one. Affirmatives need to find ways to leverage their aff against the implications of the kritik as well as making sure that they are still able to access their offense if they lose their framework arguments. Negs must also discuss why the aff in particular makes the squo worse. I’m certainly not well versed in much kritik literature so avoiding buzzwords and jargon can help my understanding. If you want me to vote on a kritik, it would benefit you to debate it very much like a CP/DA: turns the case, solves the case, xyz comes first, etc.

Topicality – I tend to view T debates in an offense/defense framework. Its all about competing interpretations, whomever creates the best world for debate should win, issues of abuse are not necessary but can be helpful. That being said, I’m also not a fan of the cult of limits, just going for your interpretation is more limiting will most likely lose to a broader interpretation that is more educational. Also, your K aff's impact turn of T does not amuse me – topicality is a voting issue.

Theory – I lean neg on most theory questions but this is not to be taken to mean that I like to hear your XYZ-Spec argument, your points will go down. Conditionality, or multiple conditional counterplans are both fine. The caveat to this is that I'm not sure if I'm a fan of conditional counterplans with half a dozen planks each independently conditional (ie 2nr could be planks 1-6, or 1-3, or 1&3, etc.). This doesn’t mean I won’t vote aff on theory though, whomever can make their trivial distinctions seem most important will probably win.

Non-traditional affs – I’ve debated at Greenhill and Michigan State, if that doesn’t provide some hint, I’ll break it down some more. The Aff should probably be topical, probably have a plan, and probably also have to defend the effects stemming from the hypothetical enactment of said plan - I've yet to be convinced by a reason as to why any of these things are bad.

General Notes: All of this being said – I will evaluate the arguments made in the round even if they are contrary to my beliefs, this is a guide of what I think and how I will default with a lack of argumentation. Evidence comparisons are important, Impact comparisons as well. There needs to be a decision calculus set up in the final rebuttals – i.e. you can still win the round even after admitting a solvency deficit to your CP. I do like being on the email chain of documents but will NEVER be reading the speech doc during the speech – you need to be clear. I’m only going to flow what the person who should be speaking says, if your partner yells out an argument during your speech, you have not made it.

College debate note: I will judge at one college tournament roughly every four years, this being said, please, please, please, assume I have next to ZERO topic knowledge (careful with acronyms too). I judge a ton of debates, just none on your topic.

Lincoln-Douglas debate notes: Well, you’ve read all of this which means two things: 1. I’m probably judging you. 2. Something has gone terribly awry for both of us. If possible, I’d basically prefer your LD debate to be policy-esque, I can obviously follow whatever but still have no idea what a criterion is. For some reason when I say this, people seem to think theory args are a good idea....most LD theory args seem to be asinine standards that the other team needs to follow…I will not vote on this, and will probably lower your speaker points. Also, if you intend to win due to a theory argument, you need a reason to reject the team – otherwise the obvious remedy is rejecting the argument.

Tommy Snider Paradigm

6 rounds


Director of Debate at Casady School

Put me on the e-mail chain: snidert [at] casady [dot] org

On Evidence

Evidence quality and consistency is very important to me. I can easily be convinced to disregard a piece of evidence because it lacks quality, is insufficiently highlighted, or is not qualified.

Author qualifications are under debated and if a piece of evidence lacks a qualification then that should definitely be used in debate.

K Things General

One line should dictate how you approach reading the K in front of me:

“You are a debater, not a philosopher.”

This should be your guiding principle when reading and answering a kritik in front of me. Debaters seem to rely more on jargon than actually doing the work of explaining and applying their argument. Unnecessarily complex kritiks won't get good speaker points (90% of the time you could have just read the cap k).

I will not flow overviews on a separate sheet of paper.

If you plan on reading the K

I've got good news and bad news. I'll start with the bad news: You are very unlikely to convince me not the weigh/evaluate the aff. I'm not persuaded much by self-serving counter interpretations on framework.

That said, the good news is that I think people give the aff too much credit and most of the reasons why I shouldn't evaluate the plan are typically offense against it. For example while I don't find the FW interpretation "Debate should be about epistemological assumptions" very convincing, I will definitely vote on "the affirmative's plan relies on a flawed epistemology that ensures serial policy failure, which turns case."

If you're answering the K

While the above may seem like good news for the aff answering the K, I tend to hold the aff to a higher threshold than most in K debates. I don't think "you need a specific link to the plan" is responsive to a K of the aff's epistemology. Likewise, aff framework interps that exclude Ks entirely are pretty much a non-starter.

Theory Issues

Condo seems to be getting a bit excessive, but no one goes for condo anymore so I'm sort of stuck with it.

Tech vs Truth

I think of this as more of a continuum as opposed to a binary. I lean more towards tech than truth, but I'm not going to pretend that I evaluate all arguments with equal legitimacy. For example, I have a higher threshold for arguments like “climate change not real” than “plan doesn’t solve climate change.” I traditionally evaluate the debate in offense/defense paradigm, but there is a such thing as a 0% risk.

K affs/T-FW

I enter every debate with the assumption that the resolution is going to play a role in the round. What role it plays, however, is up for debate. I don’t have a preference between skills or fairness standards.

Common reasons I vote aff on FW:

The neg goes for too many “standards”/"DAs"/whatever-youre-calling-them in the 2NR.

The neg doesn’t even try to engage the aff’s 2AC to FW.

Common reasons I vote neg on FW:

The aff doesn’t have an offensive reasons why the TVA is bad.

The aff doesn’t even try to engage the neg’s standards on FW.


I only flow what I hear, I won't use the doc to correct my flow. If I don't catch an argument/tag because you're too unclear then *insert shrug emoji*. That said, with online debate I will flow what I hear and use the doc to correct my flow after the speech. Including your analytics in the speech document will make correcting my flows much easier.

Guaranteed 30 if you’re paper debate team #PaperDebate

My facial reactions will probably tell you how I feel about your arg.

Hee Song Paradigm

3 rounds

Not Submitted

John Spurlock Paradigm

hey all, i'm john spurlock. i debated for ckm for four years and currently debate for uc berkeley. when i used to do prefs, i was looking to answer four questions about the judge, so i'm just going to ask and answer those four questions as best i can.

1. is this person qualified/experienced enough to judge my debate?
well this is up to you, but i've been in policy debate for five years and had a lot of rounds at high levels of competition. i have some solid experience, and i've thought about debate a lot. i can't guarantee that i am qualified or experienced enough to judge your debate, but i can assure you that i feel qualified and experience enough to judge your debate (if that means anything lol).

2. is this person fine with the type(s) of argument(s) that i read in debates?
almost assuredly yes, i am convinced there is value in almost every form of debate and every type of argument. short of blatantly offensive argumentation, i am willing to consider almost every position that an aff or neg team might introduce. i've read framework, read no-plan affs, gone for politics, the k, etc. how you debate is so much more important than what you are debating about. i don't think there is any team that should not prefer me because of a certain type of argument that they make.

3. how does this person go about deciding debate rounds?
my process is slightly different for every debate that i judge, but i think there is an overall trend in my process based on the debates i've judged so far. i want to vote on arguments that are in the 2nr/2ar that i can easily trace back to previous neg/aff speeches. after the debate ends, i go through my flow and make a list of the key arguments from the 2nr and the 2ar in the debate. i put this on a separate sheet from my flow and try to assess (a) what i think the other team has said against this key claim, (b) whether it is new, (c) who wins this point, and (d) what impact this claim has on the debate. from here, i find myself able to render my decision.

4. what are the special things about this judge that i need to be aware of?
i'm probably like most judges in most ways, but i will include a few short facts here.
(a) i will probably flow on paper.
(b) i will almost assuredly not call for cards unless to settle a factual question. i will not call for cards in 98% of debates. i will not call for cards if you say "our evidence is good on this question." you need to explain to me why your evidence is good. you need to explain to me why their evidence is bad. i will not reward debaters who use cards as a substitute for argumentation.
(c) i need every speech that you give to be clear enough such that i can discern every word that you say. this includes the text of your cards. if i cannot understand you due to a prioritization of speed over clarity, you will suffer in speaker points and in terms of what arguments i count. this is related to point (b) in that the only way to prevent people from lying about the content of their cards is to be clear enough such that i can hear your cards.
(d) i place a high value on filtering and framing arguments in all styles of debates. your setting up a smart, strategic lens for how i evaluate the debate (and the impacts in the debate) can cause me to place a lesser weight on particular arguments even if you are not winning every single argument on the flow.

Joel Su Paradigm

5 rounds

In high school I debated for two years at Stern Math and Science School. In college I debated for three years at California State University, Fullerton. 


My Evaluation

I find debate is an educational activity. What that looks like is up to the competitors, I will try and insert myself as best I can. My role as a judge is to be an educator and mediate between competing interests.



I may have not heard of your Kritik/Affirmative/Disadvantage/Counterplan/ etc. Don’t be offended. Don’t assume. In general it is best to err on the safe side and explain the plan function, the thesis of the disadvantage, and how counterplans avoid net benefits. 

Framing debates- An easy way to ensure higher speaks and tell me how and what to evaluate in 2nr/2ar is to have an ethos moment. An ethos moment tells me how to filter/view the debate.  

Explanations over cards. I usually award my ballot to debaters who create a story and have good analysis of their arguments. Like a lot of judges, smart arguments can beat carded evidence. 

I perhaps am considered a "K hack". This by no means suggests I do not/prefer not to judge policy rounds. I find that there are good things from the policy side as well as the critical side. 


Things I like to see in a round

Courtesy. Be nice to your partner and opponents.

Be prepared to defend everything you say, do, or justify.

Time your own prep and your opponents.

Prep ends when flash is handed to opponents, otherwise I will deduct speaker points at my discretion.



Cheaters! You will lose. No clipping. No power tagging. No plagiarizing. No exceptions.

*The opposing team must prove without a doubt that such instances occurred. Video recordings resolve this for me. Punishment for stopping a debate and failing to prove dishonesty will result in an automatic loss or some consequence at the discretion of tournament officials. 


Argument prefs

Counterplans- Read the plan text slowly, also extending the plan mechanism in later speeches is not a bad idea. Explain how the counterplan solves the net benefit.

Kritiks- Good plan and advantage links are very appreciated, as is alternative explanations. Avoid lengthy overviews as much as possible. Because of the complexity of Kritik debates, I suggest you read the Miscellaenous section and the Framing section of my philosophy. 

Disadvantages- Explain the story. I want to know very specifically what the affirmative does to uniquely trigger the link. The neg fares better chance at winning a disadvantage in front of me if I am clear on what the aff is or does.

Topicality- Slow down. I want to hear the interpretation and standards. Explicit extension of the interpretation(s) is most crucial here. 

*On issues of Kritik affirmatives, I do evaluate impact turns to arguments such as Topicality.

Theory- Mostly a nonstarter. I do not like this trend of two second voting issue theories. I consider theory to be a legitimate argument to ensure fairness, and when applied in situations that merit theory I can vote on it. Ridiculous or excessive theories will result in lower speaker points. That being said, I will vote for conceded theory arguments.

Permutation- Make it clear in 2ac when they are made. Also please explicitly extend the perm you go for in later speeches. I don't like guessing which perm you go for.

Independent Voters- I do not like the idea of evaluating issues independent of arguments that you go for. If you really want me to vote on one specific argument, I expect the whole 2nr/2ar to be just that. 



I've noticed that when evaluating kritik debates, a clear articulation of links/link turns has been lacking:

1) I am not usually persuaded by links of ommission/deliberate exclusions of ....

2) Links that indict knowledge/logic and/or representations must show exactly how those representations manifest into something bad. (Historical analysis helps do this). 


Ask me any questions before the round starts. 

Debnil Sur Paradigm

5 rounds

Stanford '17, '18

Bellarmine '13

Constraints: Lowell

[updated 09/18/2020]

Yes email chain: lowelldebatedocs [at] -- please format the subject as "Tournament Name -- Round # -- Aff School AF vs Neg School NG". Example: "NDT -- Finals -- Georgia RS vs Kentucky BT". For any non email chain email, debnil.sur [at]

Lay Debate: If this is a setting that's predominantly lay (GGSA, CA State), I will judge as a parent, unless explicitly told by both teams that they'd like a circuit debate. I think lay-friendly debate is an immensely valuable dying art. At NSDA, given the sheer number of circuit judges and my background in both lay and circuit debate, I would recommend that you adapt to the rest of the panel, especially the most lay judge. I will understand what you are doing and evaluate accordingly. I will not penalize you for making the debate more accessible for all judges.

LD: The closer you are to policy, the better. I strongly lean aff on all theory in this activity and think the time constraints make negative conditionality incredibly difficult.


Above all, tech substantially outweighs truth. The below are preferences, not rules, and can easily be overturned by good debating. But, since nobody's a blank slate, treat the below as heuristics I use in thinking about debate. Due to the lack of resolution in most high school debates -- not your fault, it's natural for your stage of development :) -- my biases end up resolving arguments in the absence of explicit judge instruction. So, incorporating some of them can explain my decision and help render one in your favor.

General/Topic Background: I learned to debate at Bellarmine in San Jose, where I consistently cleared at large national invitationals, including the TOC. I also did well at lay-friendly formats like NSDA and California state. I debated for a hot second at Stanford, but ended up directing my limited debate efforts into youth outreach.

I now work full-time in tech in San Francisco. I coach the policy debate team at Lowell in my spare time; this is how give back to the community I live in and to one that shaped me. While I'm not a full-time debate person, I'm involved in the team's strategy and have a good sense of arguments read around the country.

Basically, I've seen a lot of debates between great teams, and I can comfortably judge any arguments.

Here are judges

Ideologically, I'd say I'm 55/45 leaning right. (I think my voting records don't reflect this because K debaters tend to see the bigger picture in clash rounds.) I'm somewhere in the middle of the following excellent judges, whose views on debate and/or judging style have influenced my own: Anirudh Prabhu, Dhruv Sudesh, Rafael Pierry, Zoe Rosenberg, Kelly Ye, Cade Cottrell, Mike Shackelford, Yao Yao Chen, Brian Manuel, Jake Ziering, and jon sharp.

Here's some more information about people you actually know. These days, separate from my Lowell debaters and alums, almost all of my debate conversations are with Anirudh Prabhu, Dhruv Sudesh, and Rafael Pierry. Ideologically, I'm 50/50 but leaning right -- left of Monta Vista and right of Ani.

Voting Splits: As of the end of arms sales, I've judged 145 rounds of VCX at invitationals over 7 years. I typically judged 2-3 tournaments a year while in college, or ~15 rounds per topic for ~75 rounds total. Since I became a “coach” on the immigration topic, per season, I have judged 5 national circuit tournaments (separate from 3 to 5 in-California local tournaments per topic), for a total of 70 rounds.

Below are my voting splits across the (synthetic) policy-K divide, where the left team represents the affirmative, as best as I could classify debates. Paradigm text can be inaccurate self-psychoanalysis, so I hope the data helps.

Policy v. Policy - 36-29: 55% for the aff over 65 rounds

Policy v. K - 19-26: 42% for the aff over 45 rounds

K v. Policy - 13-17: 43% for the aff over 30 rounds

K v. K - 3-2: 60% for the aff over 5 rounds

Framework: I almost exclusively went for framework against planless affs in high school; identity arguments really rose in the West Coast post-2013, so this was primarily against pomo arguments. I then proceeded to work with excellent debaters on either side of this ideological divide. I have a very even, slightly right-leaning voting record. I almost always vote for whoever resolves uniqueness to impact/impact turns and the relative precedence of these arguments. I'm better for switch-side, TVA, skills impacts than procedural impacts; I think the latter requires you to win defense to the aff in some form (of course, these can be defensive framings of the former). See Tyler Vergho's excellent explanation of why so-called "intrinsic procedural goods" are illogical.

K Affs: Totally down. Develop a couple pieces of key offense and explain thesis claims. Do line-by-line (or apply your overview to specific 2AC answers, in order) unless you're incredible at generating clash without it. If you aren't, your speaks will suffer, and I will likely resolve key points of clash for the negative. I do think you get a perm, because link debating is good, but I am a big fan of reading topic disads against K affs, or picking and choosing quotations of the 1AC as bases for various disadvantages/impact turns/etc.

Ks: I know something about almost all Ks in debate. Links to the plan are great, and if you don't have them, tell me how to weigh those against the plan and its consequences. I find that framework almost always decides these debates for me. I believe I'm more of an educator than policymaker, which means representational critiques or critiques of debate's educational incentive structure will land better for me than most judges. This is reflected by my voting record, which is about 60/40 neg, since most 1ARs don't handle the framework and K tricks well.

That being said, if the neg doesn't win framework, I'm quite aff leaning in a policy versus K debate. I'm a hard sell on sweeping ontological or metaphysical claims about society; I'll likely let the aff weigh the plan; I don't think the alt can fiat structures out of existence; and I think the alt needs to generate some solid uniqueness for the criticism. The neg will have to win some major turns case arguments and do great case debating/contextualization if framework is lost.

Theory: Conditionality is good. Counterplans competing on certainty or immediacy are bad. Other theory preferences are likely determined by the topic. If you have solid lit for your CP, I'll be very receptive to its theoretical legitimacy. Presumption goes to less change - debate what this means in round. Otherwise, it goes aff in the event of an advocacy.

Topicality: Before other theory. Precision typically decides the standards debate for me. I default to competing interps. Reasonability is a question of whether substance crowdout caused by topicality debates outweighs difference in interps. Please demonstrate solid knowledge of the topic (specific case lists, arguments being read around the country, etc) to go for this well.

Policy Stuff: Like everyone, I like it. I care more about link centered debate than impact, so focus on uniqueness and link framing over terrible turns case arguments. I don't think you need evidence to make an argument -- I think many bad advantages can be reduced to zero through smart analytics, and I shower debaters who do this with high speaker points. But, the better their evidence is, the more likely you'll need your own. While I like soft left affs, they need to contextualize generic framing contentions to specific negative arguments.

Speaker Points: I flow on my computer, but I do not use the speech doc. I want every word said, even in card text and especially in your 2NC topicality blocks, to be clear. I will shout clear twice in a speech, after that, your problem.

Note that this assessment is done per-tournament: for calibration, I think a 29.3-29.4 at a finals bid is roughly equivalent to a 28.8-28.9 at an octos bid.

29.5+ — the top speaker at the tournament.

29.3-29.4 — one of the five or ten best speakers at the tournament.

29.1-29.2 — one of the twenty best speakers at the tournament.

28.9-29 — a 75th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would barely clear on points.

28.7-28.8 — a 50th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would not clear on points.

28.3-28.6 — a 25th percentile speaker at the tournament.

28-28.2 — a 10th percentile speaker at the tournament.

Ethics: Cheating means you will get the lowest possible points. You need a recording to prove the other team is clipping. If you mark a card, say where you’re marking it, actually mark it, and offer a marked copy before CX in constructives or the other's team prep time in a rebuttal.

If there is a different alleged ethics violation, I will ask the team alleging the violation if they want to stop the debate; let both teams offer a written defense of their practice; and then decide the violation based on said written defenses. I'll evaluate these per the NSDA rulebook, since non-clipping ethics norms are quite vague, and I can't find another coherent set of norms. Flashing and emailing isn’t prep, but don’t take forever.

Debate is the greatest game I've ever played, and it also substantially changes your subjectivity and makes life-long friendships. Enjoy it!

Ravitheja Talla Paradigm

6 rounds

About me:

- I debated policy 4 years at James Logan High School, mostly on the circuit

- I now coach and judge intermittently

My feelings towards certain positions:

T and Theory

Outline an abuse story. Defend a world interpretation.


Weigh worlds. Explain link stories. I will vote on terminal non uniqueness.


Textual competition counts as competition. Win a net benefit.

The K

Explain the alt. Be extremely clear with framework. Explain the role of the ballot. Embed clash and make comparisons in your overviews.


Be respectful. Arguments in the final focus need to be in the summary, warranted. Weighing should start in the summary. Don't be unreasonably omitting defense in the first summary.


If you're good at debate, you'll get good speaks. If you're good for debate, you'll get better speaks (s/o Phoebe Kuo).


You can try to earn +.1 speak for making @four_pins -esque jokes.

Lee Thach Paradigm

3 rounds

Debated for CSU Fullerton. 4-time NDT Qualifier. CEDA Octafinalist.

B.A. in Philosophy; working on M.A. in Communication.

Coach Policy Debate for CSU Fullerton & University High School

Coach Lincoln Douglas & Public Forum for CL Education


1. Clarity > Loudness > Speed.

2. Framing > Impact > Solvency. Framing is a prior question. Don’t let me interpret the debate, interpret the debate for me.

3. Truth IS Tech. Warranting, comparative analysis, and clash structure the debate.

4. Offense vs Defense: Defense supports offense, though it's possible to win on pure defense.

5. Try or Die vs Neg on Presumption: I vote on case turns & solvency takeouts. AFF needs sufficient offense and defense for me to vote on Try or Die.

6. Theory: Inround abuse > potential abuse.

7. Debate is a simulation inside a bigger simulation.


TOPICALITY: As far as I am concerned, there is no resolution until the negative teams reads Topicality. The negative must win that their interpretation resolves their voters, while also proving abuse. The affirmative either has to win a no link we meet, a counterinterp followed up with a we meet, or just straight offense against the negative interpretation. I am more likely to vote on inround abuse over potential abuse. If you go for inround abuse, list out the lost potential for neg ground and why that resolves the voters. If you go for potential abuse, explain what precedents they set.

FRAMEWORK: When the negative runs framework, specify how you orient Fairness & Education. If your FW is about education, then explain why the affirmative is unable to access their own pedagogy, and why your framework resolves their pedagogy better and/or presents a better alternative pedagogy. If your FW is about fairness, explain why the affirmative method is unable to solve their own impacts absent a fair debate, and why your framework precedes Aff impacts and/or is an external impact.

DISADVANTAGES: Start with impact calculation by either outweighing and/or turning the case. Uniqueness sets up the timeframe, links set up probability, and the impact sets up the magnitude.

COUNTERPLANS: Specify how the CP solves the case, a DA, an independent net benefit, or just plain theory. Any net benefit to the CP can constitute as offense against the Permutation.

CASE: Case debate works best when there is comparative analysis of the evidence and a thorough dissection of the aff evidence.

KRITIKS: Framing is key since a Kritik is basically a Linear Disad with an Alt. When creating links, specify whether they are links to the Aff form and/or content. Links to the form should argue why inround discourse matters more than fiat education, and how the alternative provides a competing pedagogy. Links to the content should argue how the alternative provides the necessary material solutions to resolving the neg and aff impacts. If you’re a nihilist and Neg on Presumption is your game, then like, sure.



PLANS WITH EXTINCTION IMPACTS: Many affirmatives underappreciate their extinction impacts. If you successfully win your internal link story for your impact, then prioritize solvency so that you can weigh your impacts against any external impacts. Against other extinction level impacts, make sure to either win your probability and timeframe, or win sufficient amount of defense against the negs extinction level offense. Against structural violence impacts, explain why proximate cause is preferable over root cause, why extinction comes before value to life, and defend the epistemological, pedagogical, and ethical foundations of your affirmative. i might be an "extinction good" hack.

PLANS WITH STRUCTURAL IMPACTS: If you are facing extinction level disadvantages, then it is key that you win your value to life framing, probability/timeframe, and no link & impact defense to help substantiate why you outweigh. If you are facing a kritik, this will likely turn into a method debate about the ethics of engaging with dominant institutions, and why your method best pedagogically and materially effectuates social change.


As a 2A that ran K Affs, the main focus of my research was answering T/FW, and cutting answers to Ks. I have run Intersectionality, Postmodernism, Decolonization, & Afropessimism. Having fallen down that rabbit hole, I have become generally versed in (policy debate's version of) philosophy.

K AFF WITH A PLAN TEXT: Make sure to explain why the rhetoric of the plan is necessary to solve the impacts of the aff. Either the plan is fiated, leading a consequence that is philosophically consistent with the advantage, or the plan is only rhetorical, leading to an effective use of inround discourse (such as satire). The key question is, why was saying “United States Federal Government,” necessary, because it is likely that most kritikal teams will hone their energy into getting state links.

K BEING AFFS: Everything is bad. These affs incorporate structural analysis to diagnosis how oppression manifests metaphysically, materially, ideologically, and/or discursively. This includes Marxism, Settler Colonialism, & Afropessimism affs. Frame how the aff impact is a root cause to the negative impacts, generate offense against the alternative, and show how the perm necessitates the aff as a prior question.

K BECOMING AFF: Truth is bad. These affs include Postmodernism, Intersectionality, & Black Optimism. Adapt to turning the negative links into offense for the aff. Short story being, if you're just here to say truth is bad, then you're relying on your opponent to make truth claims before you can start generating offense.

Chris Thiele Paradigm

6 rounds

2018 update: College policy debaters should look to who I judged at my last college judging spree (69th National Debate Tournament in Iowa) to get a feeling of who will and will not pref me. I also like Buntin's new judge philosophy (agree roughly 90%).

It's Fall 2015. I judge all types of debate, from policy-v-policy to non-policy-v-non-policy. I think what separates me as a judge is style, not substance.

I debated for Texas for 5 years (2003-2008), 4 years in Texas during high school (1999-2003). I was twice a top 20 speaker at the NDT. I've coached on and off for highschool and college teams during that time and since. I've ran or coached an extremely wide diversity of arguments. Some favorite memories include "china is evil and that outweighs the security k", to "human extinction is good", to "predictions must specify strong data", to "let's consult the chinese, china is awesome", to "housing discrimination based on race causes school segregation based on race", to "factory farms are biopolitical murder", to “free trade good performance”, to "let's reg. neg. the plan to make businesses confident", to “CO2 fertilization, SO2 Screw, or Ice Age DAs”, to "let the Makah whale", etc. Basically, I've been around.

After it was pointed out that I don't do a great job delineating debatable versus non-debatable preferences, I've decided to style-code bold all parts of my philosophy that are not up for debate. Everything else is merely a preference, and can be debated.

Style/Big Picture:

  • I strongly prefer to let the debaters do the debating, and I'll reward depth (the "author+claim + warrant + data+impact" model) over breadth (the "author+claim + impact" model) any day.

  • When evaluating probabilistic predictions, I start from the assumption everyone begins at 0%, and you persuade me to increase that number (w/ claims + warrants + data). Rarely do teams get me past 5%. A conceeded claim (or even claim + another claim disguised as the warrant) will not start at 100%, but remains at 0%.

  • Combining those first two essential stylistic criteria means, in practice, many times I discount entirely even conceded, well impacted claims because the debaters failed to provide a warrant and/or data to support their claim. It's analogous to failing a basic "laugh" test. I may not be perfect at this rubric yet, but I still think it's better than the alternative (e.g. rebuttals filled with 20+ uses of the word “conceded” and a stack of 60 cards).

  • I'll try to minimize the amount of evidence I read to only evidence that is either (A) up for dispute/interpretation between the teams or (B) required to render a decision (due to lack of clash amongst the debaters). In short: don't let the evidence do the debating for you.

  • Humor is also well rewarded, and it is hard (but not impossible) to offend me.

  • I'd also strongly prefer if teams would slow down 15-20% so that I can hear and understand every word you say (including cards read). While I won't explicitly punish you if you don't, it does go a mile to have me already understand the evidence while you're debating so I don't have to sort through it at the end (especially since I likely won't call for that card anyway).

  • Defense can win a debate (there is such as thing as a 100% no link), but offense helps more times than not.
  • I'm a big believer in open disclosure practices, and would vote on reasoned arguments about poor disclosure practices. In the perfect world, everything would be open-source (including highlighting and analytics, including 2NR/2AR blocks), and all teams would ultimately share one evidence set. You could cut new evidence, but once read, everyone would have it. We're nowhere near that world. Some performance teams think a few half-citations work when it makes up at best 45 seconds of a 9 minute speech. Some policy teams think offering cards without highlighting for only the first constructive works. I don't think either model works, and would be happy to vote to encourage more open disclosure practices. It's hard to be angry that the other side doesn't engage you when, pre-round, you didn't offer them anything to engage.

  • You (or your partner) must physically mark cards if you do not finish them. Orally saying "mark here" (and expecting your opponents or the judge to do it for you) doesn't count. After your speech (and before cross-ex), you should resend a marked copy to the other team. If pointed out by the other team, failure to do means you must mark prior to cross-ex. I will count it as prep time times two to deter sloppy debate.

  • By default, I will not “follow along” and read evidence during a debate. I find that it incentivizes unclear and shallow debates. However, I realize that some people are better visual than auditory learners and I would classify myself as strongly visual. If both teams would prefer and communicate to me that preference before the round, I will “follow along” and read evidence during the debate speeches, cross-exs, and maybe even prep.


  • I like competing interpretations, the more evidence the better, and clearly delineated and impacted/weighed standards on topicality.

  • Abuse makes it all the better, but is not required (doesn't unpredictability inherently abuse?).

  • Treat it like a disad, and go from there. In my opinion, topicality is a dying art, so I'll be sure to reward debaters that show talent.

  • For the aff – think offense/defense and weigh the standards you're winning against what you're losing rather than say "at least we're reasonable". You'll sound way better.


  • The exception to the above is the "framework debate". I find it to be an uphill battle for the neg in these debates (usually because that's the only thing the aff has blocked out for 5 minutes, and they debate it 3 out of 4 aff rounds).

  • If you want to win framework in front of me, spent time delineating your interpretation of debate in a way that doesn't make it seem arbitrary. For example "they're not policy debate" begs the question what exactly policy debate is. I'm not Justice Steward, and this isn't pornography. I don't know when I've seen it. I'm old school in that I conceptualize framework along “predictability”; "topic education", “policymaking education”, and “aff education” (topical version, switch sides, etc) lines.

  • “We're in the direction of the topic” or “we discuss the topic rather than a topical discussion” is a pretty laughable counter-interpretation.

  • For the aff, "we agree with the neg's interp of framework but still get to weigh our case" borders on incomprehensible if the framework is the least bit not arbitrary.

Case Debate

  • Depth in explanation over breadth in coverage. One well explained warrant will do more damage to the 1AR than 5 cards that say the same claim.

  • Well-developed impact calculus must begin no later than the 1AR for the Aff and Negative Block for the Neg.

  • I enjoy large indepth case debates. I was 2A who wrote my own community unique affs usually with only 1 advantage and no external add-ons. These type of debates, if properly researched and executed, can be quite fun for all parties.


  • Intrinsic perms are silly. Normal means arguments are less so.

  • From an offense/defense paradigm, conceded uniqueness can control the direction of the link. Conceded links can control the direction of uniqueness. The in round application of "why" is important.

  • A story / spin is usually more important (and harder for the 1AR to deal with) than 5 cards that say the same thing.

Counterplan Competition:

  • I generally prefer functionally competitive counterplans with solvency advocates delineating the counterplan versus the plan (or close) (as opposed to the counterplan versus the topic), but a good case for textual competition can be made with a language K netbenefit.

  • Conditionality (1 CP, SQ, and 1 K) is a fact of life, and anything less is the negative feeling sorry for you (or themselves). However, I do not like 2NR conditionality (i.e., “judge kick”) ever. Make a decision.

  • Perms and theory always remain a test of competition (and not a voter) until proven otherwise by the negative by argument (see above), a near impossible standard for arguments that don't interfere substantially with other parts of the debate (e.g. conditionality).

  • Perm "do the aff" is not a perm. Debatable perms are "do both" and "do cp/alt"(and "do aff and part of the CP" for multi-plank CPs). Others are usually intrinsic.


  • I think of the critique as a (usually linear) disad and the alt as a cp.

  • Be sure to clearly impact your critique in the context of what it means/does to the aff case (does the alt solve it, does the critique turn it, make harms inevitable, does it disprove their solvency). Latch on to an external impact (be it "ethics", or biopower causes super-viruses), and weigh it against case.

  • Use your alternative to either "fiat uniqueness" or create a rubric by which I don't evaluate uniqueness, and to solve case in other ways.

  • I will say upfront the two types of critique routes I find least persuasive are simplistic versions of "economics", "science", and "militarism" bad (mostly because I have an econ degree and am part of an extensive military family). While good critiques exist out there of both, most of what debaters use are not that, so plan accordingly.

  • For the aff, figure out how to solve your case absent fiat (education about aff good?), and weigh it against the alternative, which you should reduce to as close as the status quo as possible. Make uniqueness indicts to control the direction of link, and question the timeframe/inevitability/plausability of their impacts.

  • Perms generally check clearly uncompetitive alternative jive, but don't work too well against "vote neg". A good link turn generally does way more than “perm solves the link”.

  • Aff Framework doesn't ever make the critique disappear, it just changes how I evaluate/weigh the alternative.

  • Role of the Ballot - I vote for the team that did the better debating. What is "better" is based on my stylistic criteria. End of story. Don't let "Role of the Ballot" be used as an excuse to avoid impact calculus.

Performance (the other critique):

  • Empirically, I do judge these debate and end up about 50-50 on them. I neither bandwagon around nor discount the validity of arguments critical of the pedagogy of debate. I'll let you make the case or defense (preferably with data). The team that usually wins my ballot is the team that made an effort to intelligently clash with the other team (whether it's aff or neg) and meet my stylistic criteria. To me, it's just another form of debate.

  • However, I do have some trouble in some of these debates in that I feel most of what is said is usually non-falsifiable, a little too personal for comfort, and devolves 2 out of 3 times into a chest-beating contest with competition limited to some archaic version of "plan-plan". I do recognize that this isn't always the case, but if you find yourselves banking on "the counterplan/critique doesn't solve" because "you did it first", or "it's not genuine", or "their skin is white"; you're already on the path to a loss.

  • If you are debating performance teams, the two main takeaways are that you'll probably lose framework unless you win topical version, and I hate judging "X" identity outweighs "Y" identity debates. I suggest, empirically, a critique of their identity politics coupled with some specific case cards is more likely to get my ballot than a strategy based around "Framework" and the "Rev". Not saying it's the only way, just offering some empirical observations of how I vote.

Troi Thomas Paradigm

4 rounds

I will evaluate what is debated in front of me. Usually in an offense/defense paradigm.


is is a voter. However I will evaluate impact turns to T. I assume competing interpretations on T


must compete


will vote on if it outweighs case. I will also evaluate linear das if it turns the aff


I will vote on. Sometimes people don’t articulate the link well. Make sure your explaining your arguments in the context of the aff. Performance affs are a voter however I will not evaluate based on competing methodologies unless I’m asked to do so

Do your best debating. I will look at the flow and decide who wins. Impact calculus of some kind is usually important in my decision

Corey Turoff Paradigm

1 rounds

After a decade, I’ve now finally decided to update my philosophy. I’ve found that nothing I could say about each of the main argument categories would be particularly relevant because of one simple fact - my ultimate preference is to evaluate the round in whatever way you tell me to. I’m not saying you can call me a “tabula rasa” judge, if people even use that phrase anymore…I’m saying that my goal is to intervene as little as possible in the debate.

-I find myself evaluating every argument in a debate as a disad. This is obvious for actual disadvantages, counterplans, etc but for me, it's also true of theory, framework, and topicality. Did you read framework against a critical race aff? Then you likely have a predictability disad and a fairness disad against the aff’s framing of how debate should be. Did the neg read a conditional CP, K alternative, and insist the SQ is an option? You probably have ground and fairness disads to the CP/K. In those instances, you HAVE to make an impact argument that makes sense. Exclude the aff, reject the CP, reject the team…whatever. I will compare those impacts to the impacts the other side has (flexibility, education, etc.). It’d be a lot better if you did the comparison for me. If you don't, I will read into everything and make a decision for myself.

-Otherwise, debate like you want to debate. I no longer find myself voting against framework all of the time or voting for the K vs policy affs that are going for framework against the alt. I probably have voted the opposite way more often in the last year.

-Lastly, I flow but I also want to be on the email chain ( I'm actually trying to model what you are supposed to be doing...flowing the speech and looking at the evidence the team is reading once I've written down what they said ALOUD. If you do this, guaranteed 28.9 or better (which is high for me). If you actually flow AND you are funny and/or efficient at line-by-line and/or making a ton of smart arguments while covering everything, guaranteed 29.5 or better (which is outrageous for me).

------------------------------Online Debate Update------------------------------

My computer setup is way better in my house than on the road. I have incredibly fast internet and multiple screens. But it's not enough to be able to flow full speed debates over Zoom without issues. Please keep that in mind. A few things will help, if you so choose - send out your full speech doc, not just your cards so I can follow along (I'm still going to flow what you say out loud but will cut you a bit of slack in the form of looking at your speech doc to fill in holes) and slow down on theory and analytics (I'm flowing on computer and not paper at home which is both faster in some respects and slower in others).

Luis Valle Paradigm

6 rounds

Hello! I am Luis and I debated 4 years in high school for Lowell and am currently in my third year at Berkeley.

Flashing=/=Prep but don’t abuse it. Stealing prep=lower speaks.

Nontraditional: I strongly believe that the affirmative must defend they hypothetical implementation of a topical plan by the United States federal government. It will be difficult to convince me otherwise and a mildly competent extension of framework will be sufficient for me to vote against a non-traditional affirmative. 
Translation: Strike me

Topicality: I don’t have any strong feelings here. Specificity of a case-list and exactly what their interpretation allows are appreciated.

Theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team except in the case of condo, unless I am told otherwise. That’s just a default though and can be easily reversed. Drop initially impacted cheap shots and I’ll vote neg without remorse.

Critiques are either really good or really bad. The more specific they are, the better and the higher your odds of success. This also means you're going to have to explain more. I read big Ks in high school and pretty familiar with them but if you're reading something less common you might have to do a bit more work.

Disadvantages are good. Disad/Case debates are my favorite types of debates to watch. Impact calc impact calc impact calc.

Counter plan debates are fun. Even though cheater counter plans (earmarks, recommendation, xo, etc.) were my bread and butter in high school I really do not enjoy these debates although I understand their strategic benefit. That said, if you find an aff-specific solvency advocate for any of these (i.e. an advocate for something like a reg neg about the given aff) I will be very impressed and think you’re pretty shielded from theory if you say it’s grounded in the literature base.

Case is essential. I do believe in zero risk even within an offense defense paradigm. If the 1ac bioterror impact card is Ochs and the neg reads 3 cards that there is no motive and the 2ac says “extend Ochs, bioterror causes extinction”, they do not have an advantage. If the 1nc reads some cards on misallocation/cronyism/etc dooming federal projects and the 2ac extends that their tech is feasible there is zero risk of solvency when this is impacted properly. While impact defense is good, internal link/solvency presses are even better.

Cross-X is underrated. It is binding and it’s a speech. I like aggressive cross-xers and I doubt I’ll think you’re mean unless you cuss them out or something. The only caveat to this rule is if you are conclusively winning/debating novices who should not be in varsity you should be as nice as possible.

I don’t call for many cards so if their link ev is terrible you need to say that

I’ll yell clear three times, then I stop flowing you and do my own debate work.

How to get better speaker points in front of me:
-I like to reward hard working debaters and case specific neg strats/hyper-specific link turns showcase this to me a lot more than XO/Ptx
-Be clear
-Be smart
-Compare evidence
-A little snarkiness never hurt (and is encouraged) but don’t be mean
-Exploit their contradictions! If they read neolib and a trade da concede the trade impact and you only need half as many neolib answers!

If you can tell whose wiki I stole +speaks.

Evan Vance Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Teja Vepa Paradigm

3 rounds

Update for Loyola 2020:

Honestly, not much has changed since this last LD update in 2018 except that I now teach at Success Academy in NYC.

Update for Voices / LD Oct 2018:

I coach Policy debate at the Polytechnic School in Pasadena, CA. It has been a while since I have judged LD. I tend to do it once a or twice a year.

You do you: I've been involved in judging debate for over 10 years, so please just do whatever you would like to do with the round. I am familiar with the literature base of most postmodern K authors, but I have not recently studied classical /enlightenment philosophers.

It's okay to read Disads: I'm very happy to judge a debate involving a plan, DAs and counter-plans with no Ks involved as well. Just because I coach at a school that runs the K a lot doesn't mean that's the only type of argument I like / respect / am interested in.

Framework: I am open to "traditional" and "non-traditional" frameworks. Whether your want the round to be whole res, plan focused, or performative is fine with me. If there's a plan, I default to being a policymaker unless told otherwise.

Theory: I get it - you don't have a 2AC so sometimes it's all or nothing. I don't like resolving these debates. You won't like me resolving these debates. If you must go for theory, please make sure you are creating the right interpretation/violation. I find many LD debaters correctly identify that cheating has occurred, but are unable to identify in what way. I tend to lean education over fairness if they're not weighed by the debaters.

LD Things I don't Understand: If the Aff doesn't read a plan, and the Neg reads a CP, you may not be satisfied with how my decision comes out - I don't have a default understanding of this situation which I hear is possible in LD.

Other thoughts: Condo is probably a bad thing in LD.



Update for Jack Howe / Policy Sep 2018: (Sep 20, 2018 at 9:28 PM)

Update Pending

Please use the link below to access my paradigm. RIP Wikispaces.

Ajay Vishwanath Paradigm

3 rounds

Not Submitted

Karl Walter Paradigm

Not Submitted

Cameron Ward Paradigm

6 rounds

2 quick caveats about how I time debates before I get to my paradigm.

1. I try to keep a running clock. The moment your speech ends cross ex begins. The moment cross ex ends, either your prep begins or the roadmap for the following speech begins.

2. If you are paperless, your prep times ends as soon as you send or share your speech doc.

With that said...

I believe that debate is an activity where the boundaries are defined its participants. This means that I am open to hear whatever kind of debate you want. If you wish to innovate new radical approaches to debate, I am open to hear them. If you wish to have a more traditional debate I am open to hear that as well. It is important for me that you situate my space in the debate. This means that if you want me to decide the debate by comparing the size of your impacts you should say it, and if you wish for me to take a different approach you should make that explicit. Despite my attempt to allow the debaters to control the direction of the debate no one is a truly blank slate, I do have some debate dogmas. I will try hard to make them obvious here, and if there is any confusion feel free to ask me.

You only get credit for arguments that I have on my flow. If you are difficult to understand because you are too fast or unclear, and as a result I miss something, that is YOUR fault. I will try to let you know (with both verbal and non-verbal cues) if I'm missing what you're saying, but its on you to adapt. 

I prefer debates where there are a smaller number of well developed arguments as opposed to debates with 10 off. This does not mean that you have to read slowly, it just means develop your arguments, and make the block small and deep, In general the team with the better explained, better developed arguments will win the debate.

While I encourage debaters to find new, innovative ways to affirm the topic, this is not carte blanche to say anything you want. The topic is important, and as intellectuals, competitors, and activists we have an obligation to find something related to it to affirm. This does not mean that I am excited about hearing T debates. In general I lean aff on T and will let the Aff do their thing as long as it is germane to the topic, and debatable. In sum, feel free to read your non traditional Aff, but be prepared to explain why it is relevant to the topic, and why it is a debatable issue.

Also related to this discussion- I believe that voting Aff is an affirmation of the resolution. You can affirm the resolution in any way that you choose (as long as you can defend it, and it is debateable), but in the end of the day, voting Aff means that I am saying yes to some version/interpretation of the resolution. While I am open to all sorts of Affs, the one kind of Aff that will make me lean Neg on Framework/T questions is an Aff that says that the resolution is bad, or totally eschews any semblance of a connection to the resolution. This doesn’t mean that you have to fiat anything, or pretend to be the federal government, but if you don’t want to defend those things you should explain what you think the resolution means, and defend it. Be prepared to debate the framework. I generally don’t like debates that are entirely about this, but in debates with countervailing approaches to form and content framework is an unquestionably important element of a debate. It’s alright to kritik someone’s approach to the debate, but be prepared to describe what your alternative approach is and why it is better.

Slow down on theory. If I miss something because you are blazing through a block with reckless abandon, you won't get credit for it. I tend to lean negative on CP theory, and if a theory issue can be resolved by rejecting the argument instead of deciding the entire debate on it, I will generally try to do so. 

Don’t just assume that I have read the critical theory that you are debating. YOU HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO EXPLAIN YOUR ARGUMENTS! This applies to kritiks as well as other policy based arguments. I won’t vote on an argument that you win but I don’t understand, and I won't be embarrassed or feel any regret about telling you that I don't understand your argument, as this is evidence of your failure to clearly explain your argument, and not evidence of my inability to comprehend sensible arguments.

I love a healthy dose of competition as much as the next person, but don’t be a jerk. Humor is good and will be rewarded, emotion and power are great as well, just don’t let the debate turn into a pissing contest over something not at all important to the debate.

With that said, Have fun, respect each other, and good luck!

Andre Washington Paradigm

6 rounds

Assume I want to be added to your email chain:

Andre Washington
Rowland Hall St. Marks
Assistant Coach

IMPORTANT CHANGES: After 5 years of judging a wide range of debate styles, I think I've come to the conclusion that I just can't connect with or enjoy the current iteration of HS high theory debate. Being able to act as an educator is an important reason for why I judge, and I don't think I can offer that in your Baudrilliard debates anymore.

This will be my sixth year with the program at Rowland Hall, and 10th year of debate overall.

I love debate and want students to love it as well.

Do what you want, and do it well. ---

Kritiks: Despite the revision above, you absolutely should still be reading the K in front of me. I am fine with the K. I like the K as it functions in a greater neg strategy (ie, I'd rather judge a 5 off round that includes a K than a 1 off K round). However, I went 1-off fem K in highschool for many rounds, so I am genuinely pretty accepting on this issue. Given that I don't spend a great deal of my time working through K literature, I think it's important that you explain these to me, but that's basically what a good K debater should expect to do anyway.

Disads: I cut politics every week. I love both sides of the politics debate and can benefit you as a judge on how to execute these debates well.

Counterplans: Counterplans of all shapes and sizes are a critical place to form a strategy and I enjoy these debates. Theory is to be argued and I can't think of any predisposition.

Topicality: I think that debaters who can execute "technical" args well are enjoyable enough to watch and judge, and I think I can probably benefit as a judge to any technical debater. I think that any violation, on face, has validity and there are no affs that are so "obviously" topical that they cannot be beaten on T.

Kritikal affs: I am not ideologically opposed to K affs at all and even enjoy these debates, although I primarily work on and with policy affs so I would say explanation is still key.

Framework: I find that good framework debaters know how to make the flow accessible to the judge. I think that there are a number of compelling claims and debates to be had on framework, and they can be just as strongly argued as anything else (including your kritik or kritikal aff).

David Weston Paradigm

2 rounds

Updated: December 2017

*Update = I prioritize line by line debating when evaluating the comparison of arguments. Teams who decide not to debate in a line by line fashion will have a more difficult time winning my ballot. I think that line by line debating is essential for me to remain objective in the debate. Presuming that an argument in one portion of speech automatically responds to an argument that is somewhere else requires me to use my own inferences in applying argumentation. That is something that I should be avoiding as a judge. I find that this mostly happens in large K debates, where the NEG explains the thesis of their K for several minutes, then groups the debate in ways that aren't logically coherent with the 2AC, and expects me to understand why an argument made at the top/in the overview answers the #10 2AC claim without the NEG stating some comparative application.* 

I'm currently a head coach at New Trier Township High School outside of Chicago, IL. 

Here are some insights into the way I tend to evaluate arguments. Obviously these are contingent upon the way that arguments are deployed in round. If you win that one of these notions should not be the standard for the debate, I will evaluate it in terms of your argumentation.

*Offense/Defense - I'm not sure if I'm getting older or if the quality of evidence is getting worse, but I find myself less persuaded by the idea that there's "always a risk" of any argument. Just because a debater says something does not mean it is true. It is up to the other team to prove that. However, if an argument is claimed to be supported by evidence and the cards do not say what the tags claim or the evidence is terrible, I'm willing to vote on no risk to a negative argument.

*I prefer tags that are complete sentences. The proliferation of one word tags makes it difficult for me to understand the connection between arguments.

*Evidence should be highlighted to include warrants for claims. I am more likely to vote on a few cards that have high quality warrants and explained well than I am to vote on several cards that have been highlighted down to the point that an argument cannot be discerned in the evidence.

*Avoid ad hominem attacks. I would prefer that students attack their opponent's arguments as opposed to their opponent. General rudeness will probably cost you speaker points.

*Arguments require claims and warrants. A claim without warrant is unlikely to be persuasive.

*Performance/Non-traditional Affirmative - I would prefer that the debate is connected to the resolution. My ultimate preference would be for the Affirmative to defend a topical plan action that attempts to resolve a problem with the status quo. I think that this provides an opportunity for students to create harms that are tied to traditional internal link chains or critical argumentation. Teams should feel free to read critical advantages, but I would prefer that they access them through a topical plan action. For example, reading an Affirmative that finds a specific example of where structural violence (based on racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism, etc.) is being perpetuated and seeks to remedy that can easily win my ballot. Debaters could then argue that the way that we make decisions about what should or should not be done should prioritize their impacts over the negative's. This can facilitate kritiks of DA impacts, decision calculus arguments, obligations to reject certain forms of violence, etc.

Teams who choose not to defend a topical plan action should be very clear in explaining what their advocacy is. The negative should be able to isolate a stasis point in the 1AC so that clash can occur in the debate. This advocacy should be germane to the resolution.

I am not wedded traditional forms of evidence. I feel that teams can use non-traditional forms of evidence as warrants explaining why a particular action should be taken. An Affirmative that prefers to use personal narratives, music, etc. to explain a harm occurring in the status quo and then uses that evidence to justify a remedy would be more than welcome. I tend to have a problem with Affirmative's that stop short of answering the question, "what should we do?" How a team plans to access that is entirely up to them.

*Kritik debates - I like kritik debates provided they are relevant to the Affirmative. Kritiks that are divorced from the 1AC have a harder time winning my ballot. While I do not want to box in a negative's kritik options, examples of kritiks that I would feel no qualms voting for might include criticisms of international relations, economics, state action, harms representations, or power relations. I am less persuaded by criticisms that operate on the margins of the Affirmative's advocacy. I would prefer links based off of the Affirmative plan. Kritiks that I find myself voting against most often include Deleuze, Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.

*Theory - Generally theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. The exception is conditionality. I find myself less persuaded by conditionality bad debates if there are 2 or less advocacies in the round. That is not to say I haven't voted for the AFF in those debates. I am willing to vote on theory if it is well explained and impacted, but that does not happen often, so I end up defaulting negative. Avoid blips and theory blocks read at an incomprehensible rate. 

*CP's CP's that result in the plan (consult, recommendations, etc.) bore me. I would much rather hear an agent CP, PIC, Advantage CP, etc. than a CP that competes off of "certainty" or "immediacy."

*Case - I'd like to see more of it. This goes for negative teams debating against nontraditional Affirmatives as well. You should engage the case as much as possible.

Other things
*If your strategy is extinction good or death good, genocide good, racism good, patriarchy good, etc. please do all of us as favor and strike me. These arguments strike me as being inappropriate for student environments. For example, imagine a world where a debater's relative recently passed away and that student is confronted with "death good" for 8 minutes of the 1AC. Imagine a family who fled slaughter in another part of the world and came to the United States, only to listen to genocide good. These are things I wouldn't allow in my classroom and I would not permit them in a debate round either. Since I can't actually prevent people from reading them, my only recourse is to use my ballot. 

Scott Wheeler Paradigm

3 rounds

1. Offense-defense, but can be persuaded by reasonability in theory debates. I don't believe in "zero risk" or "terminal defense" and don't vote on presumption (though technically i guess I do in debates where the aff goes for "perm do the CP" and wins that it isn't severance, but not in any other instance). 

2. I'll submit the ballot that is most persuasive to me, and will try to think through the story of each ballot before choosing (of course, in good debates, that's what the final rebuttals do). I won't simply point to an argument on my flow and say "I voted on this," nor will my RFD lead with technical advice in lieu of an actual decision. Substantive questions are resolved probabilistically--only theoretical questions (e.g. is the perm severance, does the aff meet the interp) are resolved "yes/no," and will be done so with some unease, forced upon me by the logic of debate. 

3. Dropped arguments are "true," but this just means the warrants for them are true. Their implication can still be contested. The exception to this is when an argument and its implication are explicitly conceded by the other team for strategic reasons (like when kicking out of a disad). Then both are "true."

1. Conditionality bad is an uphill battle. I think it's good, and will be more convinced by the negative's arguments. I also don't think the number of advocacies really matters. Unless it was completely dropped, the winning 2AR on condo in front of me is one that explains why the way the negative's arguments were run together limited the ability of the aff to have offense on any sheet of paper.

2. I think of myself as aff-leaning in a lot of counterplan theory debates, but usually find myself giving the neg the counterplan anyway, generally because the aff fails to make the true arguments of why it was bad.

1. I don't think I evaluate these differently than anyone else, really. Perhaps the one exception is that I don't believe that the affirmative needs to win uniqueness for a link turn to be offense. If uniqueness really shielded a link turn that much, it would also overwhelm the link. In general, I probably give more weight to the link and less weight to uniqueness.

2. On politics, I will probably ignore "intrinsicness" or "fiat solves the link" arguments, unless badly mishandled (like dropped through two speeches).


1. I like kritiks, provided two things are true: 1--there is a link. 2--the thesis of the K indicts the truth of the aff. If the K relies on framework to make the aff irrelevant, I start to like it a lot less (role of the ballot = roll of the eyes). I'm similarly annoyed by aff framework arguments against the K. The K itself answers any argument for why policymaking is all that matters (provided there's a link). I feel negative teams should explain why the affirmative advantages rest upon the assumptions they critique, and that the aff should defend those assumptions.

2. I think I'm less techincal than some judges in evaluating K debates. Something another judge might care about, like dropping "fiat is illusory," probably matters less to me (fiat is illusory specifically matters 0%). I also won't be as technical in evaluating theory on the perm as I would be in a counterplan debate (e.g. perm do both isn't severance just because the alt said "rejection" somewhere--the perm still includes the aff). The perm debate for me is really just the link turn debate. Generally, unless the aff impact turns the K, the link debate is everything.

3. Many of these debates seem to involve one team discussing a nuanced critique and the other side arguing "state bad" or "state good." Not surprisingly, I'm generally going to side with the team doing the former. 

Nontraditional affirmatives:

Versus T:
1. I usually vote neg in these debates, because the aff never has a defensible interp (to be honest, I think the current model might be what they want--these affs require a boogeyman to rail against). Some people seem to view these debates as a plan/counterplan debate where the 1AC is weighed against the "topical version of the aff." I don't subscribe to that view. The affirmative has to defend an interp. If I do vote aff, one of two things has happened. Most often, the aff successfully impact-turned the impacts the negative went for. The other time I vote aff is when the neg doesn't have an external impact--their offense is simply "we're the better version of the discussion you want to have." In those debates, "TVA doesn't solve" does become offense against their interp.

2. I've noticed that some judges tend to dismiss T impacts that I take seriously. I've seen this with not just fairness, which I think is the truest T impact, but others run less often (like "moral hazzard") that were in the 2NR and then not in the RFD at all. I think a lot of things can be impacts to T, so aff teams might want to spend more time on them. 

3. To be honest, I enjoy judging K affs with plans, and wish teams ran them more. With judges voting on nonsense like PIC out of fiat and Schlag, I can see why teams don't. And of course you also still have to answer politics/util and regular T (which you might not be used to debating), but I think those are pretty doable and you'd be in better shape in front of me if you are a team that is at all flexible.

Versus the K:
1. Affs are in much better shape here because, for me, it's not up for debate whether planless affs get to perm. They do. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why there is such a thing as a "methods debate" for which theories of debate competition no longer apply. If the negative has a better methodology or starting point, I will vote aff, provided the aff methodology or starting point is good. I wouldn't vote for a counterplan that solves warming better than the aff without a link to a disad, and I don't believe competition theory goes out the window because it's a performance aff. If the aff doesn't get a perm, there's no reason the neg would have to have a link.


Topicality versus plan affs:
1. I used to enjoy these debates. It seems like I'm voting on T less often than I used to, but I also feel like I'm seeing T debated well less often. I enjoy it when the 2NC takes T and it's well-developed and it feels like a solid option out of the block. What I enjoy less is when it isn't but the 2NR goes for it as a hail mary and the whole debate occurs in the last two speeches.

2. Teams overestimate the importance of "reasonability." Winning reasonability shifts the burden to the negative--it doesn't mean that any risk of defense on means the T sheet of paper is thrown away. It generally only changes who wins in a debate where the aff's counter-interp solves for most of the neg offense but doesn't have good offense against the neg's interp.

LD section:
1. I've been judging LD less, but I still have LD students, so my familarity with the topic will be greater than what is reflected in my judging history.

2. Everything in the policy section applies. This includes the part about substantive arguments being resolved probablistically, my dislike of relying on framework to preclude arguments, and not voting on defense or presumption. If this radically affects your ability to read the arguments you like to read, you know what to do.  

3. If I haven't judged you or your debaters in a while, I think I vote on theory less often than I did say three years ago (and I might have already been on that side of the spectrum by LD standards, but I'm not sure). I've still never voted on an RVI so that hasn't changed.

4. The 1AR can skip the part of the speech where they "extend offense" and just start with the actual 1AR.

Tait White-Rasmussen Paradigm

6 rounds

 Debated 4 years of HS (Winfield, Kansas), 2 in College (Los Angeles City College, CSUFullerton)

General Thoughts (whatever "thinking" is):

I am open to anything. I am also incredibly judgmental. I would rather hear a unique, new argument with perhaps less precise execution than the tightest strategy executed in the most boring way possible. That being said, what I would rather hear and what will win a substantive debate may not be the same. Use your own discretion here; that’s why you are the debater, right? Don’t be mean and overbearing; don’t be too timid.
“Policy arguments” (whatever that means)

Implementation and the allowed viability of current affairs are important if you're going this route. The more precise the better. I'd like to feel how far the effects of my ballot travel, gloriously stamping the world with my verdict; as a god would upon mortal puppets.
“Critical Arguments” (whatever that means)

These are the arguments with which I have the most familiarity. Please don't buzzword me to death here.

I am inclined to believe that permutations to “critical arguments” make little to no sense unless the aff is already winning substantive arguments on the link and impact level. Impact comparison and/or link turns would be time much better spent and certainly necessary if you want me to vote for these so-called "permutations".
Topicality/Theory (whatever “genocide” sounds like):

If you know what you’re talking about or have a crafty violation, I’m certainly willing to vote on topicality. That being said, I have a higher threshold on topicality than most. However, your "fairness" "education" "ground" abuses aren't worth my time. Tell me the direct violation and I'll decide how you were afflicted in the round (by watching the round). If you prove no affiliation with the resolution, or a direct connection through the resolution, I will vote on topicality first and then weigh the impacts. If the abuse warrants my ballot, then you will win my ballot.
Aff should at least discuss its pertinence to the resolution and/or debate or have a cogent defense of the presentation of your argument or a criticism of the necessity of such discussions. If someone tells me that these affs don't matter, I will listen to their arguments and remain open to persuasion on the issue. Not unexpectedly, I find that the smart cheaters are often very far ahead on these debates. Take that for what it is.
“My” background (whoever “I” am)

My recreational readings are old and delightful, or super current and tedious. I am often made to feel as if this is something for which I should be apologetic. That sucks. I watch enough ridiculous television shows and movies to enjoy well-placed pop culture references. I don’t necessarily think talking about helping people, saving lives, fixing oppression, etc. is awesome, but if you can measure some practicality from your actions I’ll (re)consider it. Personally, I’m bankrupt of most things that make people like other people. If you can make me laugh during a debate, that will bode well for you. But trying too hard is like caring too much about not being a fascist: it only makes you a fascist – meaning I won’t laugh and will instead frown and perchance even think mean thoughts about you.
Parts of this paradigm were stolen from an old friend. I approve of them, but he doesn't know.

Lisa Willoughby Paradigm

3 rounds

Judge Philosophy

Name: Lisa Willoughby

Current Affiliation: Henry W. Grady High School

Conflicts: AUDL teams

Debate Experience: 1 year debating High School 1978-79, Coaching High School 1984-present

How many rounds have you judged in 2012-13: 50, 2013-2014: 45, 2015-2016: 25, 2016-17 15, 2017-2018: 30, 2018-19: 30, 2019-20-5

send evidence e-mail chain to

I still view my self as a policy maker unless the debaters specify a different role for my ballot. I love impact comparison between disadvantages and advantages, what Rich Edwards used to call Desirability. I don’t mind the politics disad, but I am open to Kritiks of Politics.

I like Counterplans, especially case specific counterplans. I certainly think that some counterplans are arguably illegitimate; for example, I think that some international counterplans are utopian, and arguably claim advantages beyond the reciprocal scope of the affirmative, and are, therefore, unfair. I think that negatives should offer a solvency advocate for all aspects of their counterplan, and that multi-plank cps are problematic. I think that there are several reasons why consultation counterplans, and the States CP could be unfair. I will not vote unilaterally on any of these theoretical objections; the debaters need to demonstrate for me why a particular counterplan would be unfair.

I have a minor in Philosophy, and love good Kritik debate. Sadly, I have seen a lot of bad Kritik debate. I think that K debaters need to have a strong understanding of the K authors that they embrace. I really want to understand the alternative or the role of my ballot. I have no problem with a K Aff, but am certainly willing to vote on Framework/T against a case that does not have at least a clear advocacy statement that I can understand. I am persuadable on "AFF must be USFG."

I like Topicality, Theory and Framework arguments when they are merited. I want to see fair division of ground or discourse that allows both teams a chance to prepare and be ready to engage the arguments.

I prefer substance to theory; go for the theoretical objections when the abuse is real.

As for style, I love good line-by-line debate. I adore evidence comparison, and argument comparison. I am fairly comfortable with speed, but I like clarity. I have discovered that as I get older, I am very comfortable asking the students to "clear." I enjoy humor; I prefer entertaining cross-examinations to belligerent CX. Warrant your claims with evidence or reasoning.

Ultimately, I demand civility: any rhetoric, language, performance or interactions that demean, dehumanize or trivialize fellow debaters, their arguments or judges would be problematic, and I believe, a voting issue.

An occasional interruption of a partner’s speech or deferring to a more expert partner to answer a CX question is not a problem in my view. Generally only one debater at a time should be speaking. Interruptions of partner speeches or CX that make one partner merely a ventriloquist for the other are extremely problematic.

Clipping cards is cheating. Quoting authors or evidence out of context, or distorting the original meaning of a text or narrative is both intellectually bankrupt and unfair.

There is no such thing as one ideal form or type of debate. I love the clash of ideas and argumentation. That said, I prefer discourse that is educational, and substantive. I want to walk away from a round, as I often do, feeling reassured that the policy makers, educators, and citizens of the future will seek to do a reasonable and ethical job of running the world.

For Lincoln Douglas debates:

I am "old school" and feel most comfortable in a Value/Criterion Framework, but it is your debate to frame. Because I judge policy frequently, I am comfortable with speed but generally find it is needless. Clarity is paramount. Because of the limited time, I find that I typically err AFF on theoretical objections much more than I would in a policy round.

I believe that any argument that an AFF wants to weigh in the 2AR needs to be in the 1AR. I will vote against new 2AR arguments.

I believe that NEG has an obligation to clash with the AFF. For this reason, a counterplan would only be justified in a round when the AFF argues for a plan; otherwise a counterplan is an argument for the AFF. The NEG must force a decision, and for that reason, I am not fond of what used to be called a 'balance neg.'

Bill Wilson Paradigm

3 rounds

Give me your best arguments and tell me why they matter.

I appreciate well structured speeches. This applies to performance and policy alike. Debaters need to tell me what evidence/arguments are most important for resolving the round, and why. I appreciate a good overview. Tell me how, even in light of the opposition's best argument, you still win the round. Give me a balanced assessment, and try to write my RFD for me.

I like it when debaters think about the probability of their scenarios and compare and connect the different scenarios in the round. If it is a policy v critical debate, the framing is important, but not in a prior question, ROB, or "only competing policy options" sense. The better team uses their arguments to access or outweigh the other side. I think there is always a means to weigh 1AC advantages against the k, to defend 1AC epistemology as a means to making those advantages more probable and specific. On the flip side, a thorough indictment of 1AC authors and assumptions will make it easier to weigh your alternative, ethics, case turn, etc. Explain the thesis of your k and tell me why it it is a reason to reject the affirmative.

Please don't hide behind or speak into your laptop screens. I can't hear you and your pre-written rebuttals rarely match the debate as it happened anyway. I reward clarity of speech with higher points.

Cross Ex: I pay attention. Debaters can establish credibility on important issues and earn extra points at the margins through an exceptional cross examination. I feel the best debaters use cross ex to frame evidence and foreshadow their endgame.

Critical Aff: My default is the aff should endorse USFG action. You will have to persuade me why not using a federal actor was a necessity, and how there are still limits to the discussion. It helps if your advocacy is germane to the resolution. While I would much prefer to hear the negative debate the case--I give the negative a lot of latitude in these debates if they do so--I get this is unlikely when the aff wasn't predictable and didn't do anything, but if they don't do anything, you can win on presumption. If there is a creative TVA, it doesn't have to "solve" the aff, just be debatable under your interpretation.

Topicality: I vote on well argued violations. T debates need not devolve into questions of "abuse" but ultimately boil down to limits. I prefer literature/expert based interpretations of the resolution. Negatives do well to provide case lists and to articulate why their interpretation isn't an arbitrary line to exclude the affirmative. For affirmatives to win reasonability, they must provide a qualified counter interpretation and make a compelling argument for why theirs is a quality/predictable limit for the topic, driven by topic literature/experts with intent to define, and why the lack of significant offense for neg interp means competing interps becomes arbitrary in the context of this round.

Theory: I rarely vote for teams going for theory to reject team. Please get beyond the tag lines and don't assume I know or am bound to any particular convention. In most cases I would prefer to reject the argument not the team, unless clearly explained and impacted otherwise. I would much rather make a decision on more substantive issues in the round. For condo debates, please have a clear interpretation and RTP same as you would in a T debate. 3 conditional advocacies seems ok to me--K, CP, Advantage CP(s) (to test intrinsicness of aff scenarios).

Analytics: Smart, warranted arguments can have A LOT of weight on my flow. If you expose the absurdities of their internal link chains, you can get to minimal risk even without a carded response.

CP's: I prefer your CP's have a specific solvency advocate. "We fiat x does the plan" without carded solvency is not compelling and leads to boring debates about stilted net benefits. For multiplank, every plank needs an advocate.

DA: Your turns the case analysis is more compelling at the plan implementation/aff internal link level than a silly "our impact means x doesn't happen".

Politics: I find logical policy maker a compelling AFF argument.

Cheating: Clipping happens more than it should, which is never. If you are not reading every word you are claiming through underlining or highlighting, that is clipping. If it seems like a one time miscue I will say something since I will give you the benefit of the doubt but will not have given you credit for reading the card. If it is egregious or persistent, I will intervene, and I will contact your coach immediately with a description of what I witnessed.

If the other team raises a dispute. I will do my best to adjudicate the claim and follow the above reasoning to render a penalty either to dismiss the evidence or reject the team. If you intend to record the debate for calling out clipping, please be aware of the relevant state law, if you need consent please get the consent from all parties before the round.

Michael Wimsatt Paradigm

I take judge instruction very seriously.

Arbitrariness and follow-on are probably more important to me than other judges.

I like Kritik arguments even less than my reputation suggests.

I dislike run and gun strategies.

Successfully executing one/two off strategies will earn substantial speaker point boosts.

The wipeout/spark genre will not be considered. If you have to ask, you already have your answer.

Kendall Witaszek Paradigm

5 rounds


Former debater at the University of Minnesota (NDT '14), New Trier High School
Coach at Minneapolis South
Email kendallwitaszek@gmail.comif you have questions

Re: China-- I led a lab at Northwestern over the summer, so I probably know the basics of what you are talking about, but I may not know all the abbreviations/acronyms out there.

Super short version: Read what you want in front of me, my argument styles have been on both sides of the spectrum (policy in high school and kritikal in college). That being said, things like patriarchy/racism good will not be voted on if I am in the back of the room. I have read both plan-based policy affirmatives and kritikal, non-plan-based affirmatives, as well as a large selection of arguments on the neg. I am open to listening to and voting on a wide range of arguments. You do you.

Relatively short version:
Kritiks: I love a good K debate and strayed toward these arguments during the latter part of my debate career, but that does not mean I am automatically going to vote neg on the K, or that you should read a K just because I am judging; I have voted both ways in these debates. If you want to go for a K, make sure that I know what the alternative is and how it is able to resolve the links (if you plan to go for the alt; that being said, the alt isn't always necessary to win the round.) Like any argument, you should have a strong understanding of your K if you want to go for it (this is especially true in novice debate) so that you can rely on substance. The team that does a better job talking about the K in the context of the aff tends to be in a preferable position at the end of the debate. Neg, contextualize links to the aff, explain why the alt solves them, and discuss how your strategy implicates the case -- people tend to take these things for granted. Aff, make sure to answer specific links, put ink on the alt, and have a good defense of your epistemology/methodology/etc if possible. If the neg authors or concepts are in tension with one another, point that out and explain how that is the case and why it is important.

Non-traditional affirmatives: You do you. Yes, I will vote for these; in fact, they tend to be my favorite affs to judge and I believe that many of them are super important for debate. However, I will vote neg if the neg wins the flow (granted that it is not on an incredibly offensive impact turn, as previously noted). So, if framework is your thing against these affs, you do you. If the Cap K is your thing against these affs, you do you. If Puar is your thing against these affs, you do you. Etcetera. I automatically assume the ROB is to vote for who does the best debating (other ROB claims tend to seem very arbitrary to me, and rarely have an impact extended to them), but if you have one, explain what the ROB means (it is functionally impact framing, so explain why yours is preferable). That being said, if going for "they dropped our ROB and that's important because X" is your thing, then do that; I can be persuaded.

Theory: Slow down on your theory shells if you want the potential to be able to win on them, and focus more on contextualizing and impacting out a few key arguments rather than having a shallow, ten-subpoint list why something is awful or great. I tend to think that conditionality is good, but can be convinced otherwise. Aff, point out if there was clear in-round abuse or if you have a specific articulation of potential abuse in context of what the negative did (i.e. did they read a Cap K and a privatization CP that they can cross-apply your offense from? Why is that bad?). Win the internal links to get to your impacts.

CP’s: I lean aff on many process CP’s, but can be persuaded otherwise. Aff, please point out that the CP links to the net benefit when it does—this is often neglected. Neg, let me know how to frame the CP vs. the aff. A smart 2A will often sit hard on the permutation (there are obviously many exceptions), and a smart 2N will be able to predict this and have several DA's to doing so.

Disads: There can be a very small risk of a DA, but there can also be a very small risk of case. Turns case analysis (not just of impacts, but also of internal link scenarios), especially on the novice level, is often neglected—make it, and you’ll be rewarded. You need specific links to the affirmative. These debates often come down to weighing case impacts versus the DA's impact. I don’t really buy politics theory, but if it's dropped then that can be problematic for the neg. 

Topicality: Reasonability means that your counter-interpretation is reasonably topical, not your aff. Make clear impact/standard claims, and do not neglect to provide a caselist and topical version of the affirmative if that jives with your argument. Offense, offense, offense. Win the impact level, not just the internal link level.

Impact turns: I love a good de-dev debate.

-Make jokes/have fun (but don't be mean!)
-Flow - that includes speeches after your last one!
-Make smart cross-applications and concessions

-misidentify people. I will vote on "microaggressions bad."
-be rude to myself, your opponents, or your partner. As I said above, I will vote on "microaggressions bad."
-steal prep - seriously, I know that it is happening.

Myka Yamasaki Paradigm

6 rounds

College Prep, Oakland, California

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Coach at Success Academy Queens 1 Middle School

Full Judging Record:

In General... Read anything you want to read as long as it isn't racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic - you catch my drift. Junior year, I defended no plan coloniality affs on the Latin America topic and only went for one off kritiks on the neg. Senior year, I read an oil aff on the Oceans topic and went for politics disads. Given this, I am seriously welcome to all argument types as long as you argue for them well. Be nice, there is no blurred line between being disrespectful and a good debater. Also, I'd rather not call for cards at the end of a debate, explanation of your arguments during the round matter the most.

  • Speed: I am fine with all ranges of speed as long as you are clear.
  • Case: I like good case debate. Being able to tear apart the aff's 1AC is a great route for a win. Detailed case debate also shows you are well-prepared which is always a plus.
  • DAs: I really like it when good impact debates happen on disads. Explain smart turns and impact filters. I am also a fan of smart defensive arguments.
  • CPs: No one likes super generic counterplans but I get it. More specific the better but even if it isn't just be prepared to give good spin or else I won't be very compelled to vote for the counterplan.
  • Ks: I am familiar with most of the kritiks read in high school debate. Thorough explanations are extremely important. I will not understand the point you are trying to make if you just throw a bunch of philosophical jargon at me.
  • Topicality: T is cool just don't read T as a time suck. I think a well thought out T argument can be very dangerous for an aff.
  • Framework: I am not predisposed to voting a certain way on framework as I have been a debater on both sides of the argument. I think an aff that is winning its value within the debate space is in good shape. On the other hand, a neg who is winning the limits debate is in good shape.
  • Theory: I don't really see myself voting on theory unless it is flat out dropped or it is conditionality. Conditionality is probably not something that I will vote for if the neg reads only 1 conditional position. However, I think theory is underutilized in terms of using it to try to get a team to kick an argument.

Jackie Young Paradigm

3 rounds

Not Submitted

Elizabeth Young Paradigm

3 rounds

I have coached policy at Garfield High School since 2014. I have yet to encounter an argument I'm not OK with in a round; it's really about you and how well you explain your arguments and why they should win you the round. I think it's important to be responsive to the specific arguments in the round - don't just read your prewritten overview and assume it works for every debate. I enjoy both policy and critical arguments and have some background knowledge in theory, but don't assume I know your literature. In my opinion, it's your job to tell me how to vote in the round and why. If you leave it up to me, I tend to buy the argument that moral thinking is a prereq to policy making (but I can be convinced otherwise).

I am generally ok with most speed, but make sure I'm flowing if you're blazing through a bunch of analytics you don't want me to miss.

I don't know what "judge kicking" means - are you asking me to decide your strategy for you? I won't do that. Either go for the argument, or don't.

Jason Young Paradigm

6 rounds

Experience/Background: I debated policy for 4 years in high school (Centerville High School, OH), I did not debate in college. I started a policy team at Garfield High School, WA in 2014, and have been coaching them since then. I judge ~50 rounds a year split between the local Washington and national circuits. I am a white, cis-gendered, heterosexual male that was educated and socialized within a Western context, which has likely produced certain subtle biases in terms of my epistemological view of the world.

Bottom Line: As a debater I pursued a mix of policy and critical positions, so I'm familiar and comfortable with a wide range of arguments. Because of the openness of my paradigm I tend to judge more K debates than policy debates, so that is where I tend to get the most judging experience. My PhD work was also fairly heavy on critical theory, so I have a good grasp of that lit base. At the end of the day, though, I believe that a debate should be about the debaters, not about me. I will therefore do my best to decide the round based on arguments made by the debaters, rather than based on my own beliefs. Be clear about how you think I should be judging, and there shouldn't be any big surprises.

Biases: Unless I am convinced to do something different, I will generally do/believe the following:

-I will flow the round, and will give weight to arguments that are not answered by the opposing team.
-I will protect the negative team from new arguments in the 2AR. This means that if I cannot connect an argument in the 2AR back to the 1AR, then I will likely give that argument less, or no, weight.
-Completely new arguments should not be made in the rebuttals. I also think that it is difficult - although not impossible - for the negative to introduce completely new off-case positions in the 2NC and then develop them completely.
-I will vote for one team or the other.
-I personally believe that the open source movement in the debate community too often takes an unnuanced approach, without considering how the open sourcing of knowledge reproduces new forms of inequalities (often along neoliberal/service economy lines, wherein better resourced schools are better able to take advantage of the open knowledge economy). Therefore, I rarely find 'non-disclosure' theory arguments to be persuasive.
-Don't ask me to 'judge kick' things for you.
-I will vote against you if I think you are clipping cards.

Speaking: Be clear! I like transition words between your arguments, and find that my ears pick up the word 'next' better than 'and'. Not a requirement by any means, but perhaps something you would want to know about me. Please slow down a tad in theory debates, I'll miss arguments if you pepper me with a ton of underwarranted standards.

I learned to flow in the paper era, and I continue to flow on paper. As a result, my flow tends to be much more orderly if you do your line-by-line straight down the sheet of paper rather than when jumping around. Generally, I think that this straight-down organization will help your line-by-line coverage anyway. If you choose not to organize your speech in this way, I will still flow it. But, my flow is likelier to be messier than I (or you) would like.

Finally, please feel free to ask me questions before the round! I'm happy to answer specific questions about my paradigm.

Edmund Zagorin Paradigm

6 rounds

"There are some who believe that there is a "correct" way to debate just as there are some who believe that there is only one true religion. I am respectful of all of those who so believe but I do not think students should have those values imposed upon them."

-- Jim Gentile, legendary debate coach


I have judged a minor slew of the wild'n'crazy debates over the past few years. This has lead me to a strong appreciation of the fundamentals: line-by-line, "even if" statements and strong impact calculus. That said, I like to learn and experience new things. If you introduce me to a word or an author or a frame of thinking, I am more likely to reward you with whatever ballots mean. 


My definition of a *good debate* is as follows: words are clear and discernible, arguments are distinct and comparative, speeches are well-organized and contain multiple historical and situational examples, debaters are cordial and crafty while always keeping a sense of humor, paperless wastetime is kept to a minimum and the final two speeches are spent writing my RFD.


Unless you are doing something wrong, I almost always flow cross-ex.


While not impossible, I don't typically vote for teams that solely extend defensive arguments.Since definitions of offense/defense differ among judges, mine are:

Offense = what they advocate is/leads to something that is bad/dangerous/catastrophic. Defense = something they said is incorrect/unlikely/false.


If you are using debate to fashion a new Total World-Image, you should realize that I might not care that hard. I leave you with the following kernel of empuzzling wisdom from the Haruki Murakami:

...there is nothing unusual about a dairy cow seeking a pair of pliers. A cow is bound to get her pliers sometime. It has nothing to do with me.

(Older Extra-Long Version, All Of Which Is Still True-ish)

My primary goal as a judge is to enjoyably resolve debates with a minimum quantity of my own intervention. While true tabula rasa is impossible, I think that attempting to constrain the influences on my decision to arguments in the debate is a necessary thought experiment in the interests of pedagogical competition. Therefore, I will attempt to prevent my prior knowledge of the topic, history, and certain authors or literatures from influencing my decision and will consign such interests to post-round suggestions and comments.

That being said, I have some presumptions which are generally reflected in the way I make decisions in really bad/unresolved or good/close debates, where key questions are left to the judge. If you want me to judge in a different way, then you should introduce a judgment calculus as an argument in the debate itself and tell me how you’d like things resolved. Below are a list of some of my considered presumptions.


Debate is a game — it is supposed to be fun and it is supposed to stimulate participants’ intellect. Rules and constraints on arguments are a vital element of motivating this stimulation, in the same way that constraints on poetic forms motivate novel plays of language. Debating the rules, the framework and the impact calculus within that framework has always been a component of winning debates. This is true whether the framework argument concerns a stipulation that the affirmative defend the minimum number of votes necessary for legislative passage, that the judge is a logical policy-maker, that the affirmative must defend a topical plan or that every debater must answer the cross-ex questions posed to them. Fiat and policy implementation are black boxes that can be uniquely unpacked in every debate for strategic gain, whether via an intrinsicness argument or an argument about one’s personal connection to the topic.

Line-by-line is pretty important — it’s how I flow and my flow typically dictates how I decide debates. If there is a compelling reason not to decide a debate on dropped arguments, tell me what it is during the debate and if the other team drops it I’ll make a good-faith effort to embrace your paradox. Conceded arguments may be treated as true, but the scope of that truth is limited by arguments which remain contested. I try to remain vigilant of new arguments in final speeches.

Scope matters — an argument that is thesis-level is more powerful and wide-ranging than a specific argument, but because there are more opportunities for counter-example, general arguments are logically easier to disprove. If you concede the truth of a thesis-level claim without taking the opportunity to find a counter-example, then you should not be surprised when the debate is decided at the level of generalities. See Karl Popper’s explanation of Occam’s Razor for an explanation of the logic behind this.

Warrant depth and diversity are key — it’s how I decide most contests between given claims. Counter-intuitive, improbable and morally repugnant claims are totally winnable with diverse and high-quality warrants.

Cheap shots aren’t a great idea — I’m a pretty good flow but I have a high threshold for clarity. If you mumbled out a voting issue or trick perm in pig latin that the other team missed there’s a decent chance I missed it too. I won’t vote on an argument that I didn’t record during a speech unless all four debaters agree that it was made or concede the same

Offense/defense is standard — with some obvious exceptions it seems like everyone wants to debate this way, so I’m happy to go along with it. I do think there are serious problems with the logic of offense/defense, most easily highlighted in debates over the link differential between a plan and counterplan. I am also susceptible to offense/defense bad arguments (“Arguments are sentences that are either true or false…the counterplan either links to the DA or doesn’t… therefore link differential as a concept is incoherent… you’re either pregnant or you’re not”), but I’m sure there are good responses to such objections


Remedy is the most important question for theory debates. I will assume that the impact to a theory argument is to reject the argument unless it is explicitly stated otherwise prior to the final rebuttals.

Conditionality is usually a good thing, but then again it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Nuanced theory is key — I’m more sympathetic to the aff if conditional advocacies contradict or steal the aff in some way, as opposed to the debate over whether or not conditionality in the abstract is good or bad.

Postround conditionality is sweet for the negative but terrible for the aff. I am very sympathetic theoretical objections against it. I won’t kick arguments for the negative unless explicitly told to, and then only if the aff doesn’t object.

Permutations are tests of a link unless explained otherwise. If there is a link argument extended by the negative, then it must be explained how the permutation resolves the link arguments.


Uniqueness controls the direction of the link if decisively won by either team — otherwise I’ll evaluate all arguments probablistically via offense/defense

Diverse case turn arguments are a great way to persuade me that you’ve won the debate

I find that I begin most of my decisions by looking at impact uniqueness — the part of debate that determines whether or not either side truly controls “try-or-die”. If a team decisively controls impact uniqueness, then I may be inclined to vote for them even if they appear to be losing much of the rest of the debate.

Extreme-low-risk causal chains fall within the penumbra of statistical noise and in principle only dictate possibility rather than probability. In other words, if you lose a key defensive argument on a DA, you have proven that the link-chain suggested by the DA is possible, but not probable. Because lots of things are possible, the fact that the DA is possible may not be significant in my decision.


PICs done right are some of my favorite arguments. Case specific, functionally and textually competitive, with specific solvency advocates are awesome

Counterplans that steal the aff are probably unfair for the aff to have to debate — I’m more aff-leaning on condition/consult than most

Cross-ex is the best way to establish competition

Solvency advocates in general are preferable but not a must


Specificity is key — if you aren’t pointing to specific 1AC cards to do link analysis then you are depriving yourself of both a speaker point opportunity and strategic advantage

Think through what the alt is — if you get embarrassed on the alt being vague and/or naive and/or dumb in cross-ex then I may feel hard-pressed to vote for you

Floating PIKs are silly but really strategic — if you make them too sneakily in the block and then claim that they were “dropped” I think the 2ar probably gets a few new-ish logical answers


I flow it sometimes, it’s binding and vital for speaker points


Only use it for research questions during debates — fine for Wikipedia checks or to get the context of a full article, not cool to open an email with a bunch of new updates half-way through the debate. If you want to use time during a debate to cut a cards, that’s your own business


I give speaker points for rhetorical and persuasive flourish, use of historical examples and creative analogies, humor and technical talent. I may lower points for debaters who fight with or interrupt their partner, are cruel or disrespectful to their opponents, who prompt excessively, who make poor use of cross-ex. I will also punish the speaker points of debaters who use prejudicial or discriminatory language in a debate, or violate ethical norms of conduct.


I don’t vote on ethics challenges. There are other remedies that solve better, and I don’t think that it is worth ruining an entire debate over one person’s opinion of what constitutes “community norms” or “ethical practices”. That being said, please don’t lie, cheat, steal, cross-read, fabricate evidence, text/chat with your coaches during a debate and so on — it fosters a weakness of spirit if you get away with it and makes you look pathetic and/or stupid if called out on it.


Arguments are arguments, whether made by voice, image, song or body. That being said, sometimes it’s difficult for me to flow the warrants of the body, so make sure you explain your arguments in plain language. I appreciate rhetorical debating, and will give higher speaker points for performances that look like some effort was put into composition and rehearsal.

I find that reading evidence often distracts from / undermines the rhetorical force of a performance. I appreciate warranted argumentation — you don’t need to hand me a lot of evidence.

Your opponents influence the way that I judge your solvency. Make sure that the other team understands what you’re argument is, or at very least give them the opportunity to understand. Performance teams whose arguments are excessively complicated, vague or constantly morphing can undermine their own raison d’etre.

I am more sympathetic to performances that either justify the resolution or have advocacy statements that are germane to the topic. I think that topicality and framework are different arguments. Make sure you can defend your education in the context of the education facilitated by the resolution.

Sadaf Zahoor Paradigm

6 rounds

updated 1/14/16


you and/or  your coach are looking through a ton of paradigms, and are wondering, who is this person? do i want them to judge me? do they like x. y. or z kinds of debate? do they know what they are doing? what can i do to win this judge?


well i hope this helps you out a little bit, i’ll keep it as short as i can


who am i?


Previous job, assistant/head coach for echs ‘10-’15

current job, coaching middle school

i’ve judged just about everything, and a quite a few tournaments, Cal, USC RR, Stanford, CPS, some mid level cali tournaments, leagues and BAUDL.


do you want me to judge you?

when judging any round, i look for a few things,

clarity in speaking ( fast or not )

a good clear story for your aff or neg,

and reasons why you’ve won.


do i like x, y, or z?

it’s simple and goes across most styles of debating, i’m a fan of alternative styles of debate as well as straight policy. i’m game for anything really. really really.


do i know what i am doing?

i do flow, and will follow as well as i can, look for cues if you’ve lost me at all, mostly looking at you with a blank stare, pen on paper.

it’s your job to do the work, i can’t think for you. i will try as hard as i can to not intervene, but there have been rounds where gut takes over, and someone literally will out debate you in my eyes. there is more to debate than spewing cards and yelling, ethos, logos and pathos matter.

asking me to do work, will screw someone. be warned


what can i do to win this judge?

give good roadmaps,

care about what you’re saying, or at least convince me you care

looking like you’re enjoying yourself

don’t be a bigot

dank memes


ok, cool, thanks, bye & goodluck.

Ben Zeppos Paradigm

6 rounds

Please include me on the email chain: (

Assistant Coach at University School of Nashville since 2014.

I generally prefer affirmatives that do something bold and transformative over ones that do something small and technical. On the negative, I most enjoy the kritik and case debate.

Beyond that:

Defend a hypothetical project that goes beyond the 1AC

  1. Affirmatives should defend a project that is independent of the recitation of the 1AC.
  2. This means voting affirmative should engage some project that exceeds the simple validation of the 1AC's theoretical positions or performative mood.
  3. Ideally, this is a material project that is specifically outlined and allows for its consequences to be posed as a question.
  4. This ensures that the negative team can generate (unique) offense through a characterization of how the affirmative project would be hypothetically implemented.

Rarely go for theory

  1. Nothing is a voter except conditionality.
  2. Within reason, conditionality is only a voter in rounds with full (plan+advantages/cites) affirmative disclosure.
  3. I will not vote on conditionality if there are 3 or fewer positions. I may still be unlikely at 4 positions unless the positions are redundant (ie same types of Ks/CPs or solving the same net benefits).
  4. I have a distaste for multi-plank CPs when # of planks >> sum of aff advantages+add-ons. This strikes me as cynical and needlessly complex. I would consider rejecting the CP if the aff checks out ideologically.

Simon Zhu Paradigm

3 rounds

Affiliation - Atholton, Centennial, River Hill, McDonogh (all of Capitol Debate)

Quick version

Do whatever you're good at.

Actual Philosophy
I debated (policy) for four years for Atholton High School under Daryl Burch
I coached public forum at Capitol Debate summer camp
I currently attend UC Berkeley (not debating), triple majoring in Applied Math, Statistics and Economics
I've been both a 2A and 2N, read affirmatives all over the spectrum, went for whatever on the neg

General thoughts
Please do impact calculus (please have impacts with which to do impact calculus)
If I can't understand you, I can't flow you
Arguments have warrants too, people seem to forget that
Most likely will not call for cards to make a decision unless necessary
You can be aggressive, don't be mean
Tech > Truth
Doing line by line, responding to arguments = good

Don't do unethical things (clip cards, fabricate evidence, steal prep, etc.)
If you say you're marking, actually mark it
If you think your opponent is doing anything unethical, say something about it

I will vote on FW if you win on it, I probably won't like it
You still have to defend something, even if it's not exactly a plan
Debate shoud probably have some relevance to the topic
Explain what it means to win, role of ballot, etc. 

Generally lean competing interpretations
Keep your theoretical interpretations consistent
Can be persuaded that Neg gets 0 or 10 conditional advocacies
Solvency advocates are great
Not everything is a voting issue
If you plan to go for politics theory, it needs to actually be an argument

Should actually respond to the aff
I have more experience with those based in critical race theory
Familiar with the mainstream ks (Cap, security, etc)
Calling someone a nazi isn't an answer
High theory is interesting, usually needs a lot more explanation
Explain what it means to win framework 

Impact turn debates are awesome
Case specific strategies are even better
Add-ons are very useful
Turn case (and answer turns case arguments)
Specific well researched internal links are great
Bad internal links are easy to call out 

Speaker Points
Ethos Pathos Logos
Good CX

Bonus things:
References (Game of Thrones, Southpark, etc.)
Risks that pay off
Leftover prep/speech time (if you don't deliver poorly)

Vivian Zhu Paradigm

4 rounds

Not Submitted

max bugrov Paradigm

6 rounds

Send docs to: tuggdb (at) gmail (dot) com


East Los Angeles College 2009 - 2011

California State University, Fullerton 2011 - 2013


Assistant Debate Coach: Fresno 2013 - 2016

Assistant Debate Coach: Fullerton 2016 - Present

Assistant Director of Forensics @ CSU - Fullerton: 2019 - Present

// Fall 2020 // COVID EDITION

Call of Duty Warzone tbh.

Offense offense offense.

your debate. your choice.

audio quality matters. read the zoom room.

// Fall 2019 //

World of Warcraft (CLASSIC)

// Spring 2019//

Apex >

//Fall 2018//

like and subscribe

- team comp matters (2/2/2, 3/3)

- stay on the payload!

- definitely need a shield

- dps flex

//Fall 2017//


jishnu guha majumdar Paradigm

3 rounds

Jishnu Guha-Majumdar
5 years of Policy Debate, University of Texas – Austin
Currently: Political Theory Graduate Student at Johns Hopkins
Last Updated: November 2015

Wake Update 2015-2016

I have not done any military presence topic research and this tournament will be the first that I have judged in college since War Powers, though I have continued to judge and coach in high school. 

That means: Be careful with acronyms and topic buzzwords, take a bit of extra time breaking down T debate, specific links (which are still important, btw), etc. 

Short version:

- Remember the big picture. Think of arguments holistically and pay attention to appropriate nexus issues.

- Debating > Evidence, at the margins - but when in doubt defer to truthiness. 

- Evidence Quality > Quantity, almost always. 

- I am less likely to be persuaded by "cheap shots" without substantial development. 

- Internal links are often more important than terminal impacts.

- Speaker Points: Clarity, demonstrate historical and topic knowledge, don't be unnecessarily rude

- I like creative affs, but think they ought to have a more than cursory relationship to the topic. 

- Theory predispositions at the bottom.


Long version:

General guidelines for debating in front of me regardless of particular argument genres - 

1. Strategy/Big Picture over Tech Minutiae (when it matters):

-          I rarely consider particular issues in isolation. If one argument is answered by the overarching strategy of the other team, it’s not dropped if it wasn’t put on the right line of the flow

-         For you that means:
- The way you frame your speeches, especially the final rebuttals, is important. I try to pay attention to what debaters flag as important nexus issues
- Pay attention to interactions between arguments. Be able to leverage different parts of the debate against each other.

2. But tech still matters quite a bit. 

- “Tech” doesn’t necessarily mean flow-centrism or perfect line-by-line, but it does mean you must answer all important and relevant arguments regardless of argumentative style. 

- It also means that arguments made in the debate round supercede what I believe to be the truth. However, when in doubt, defer to truthiness. 

3. The simple fact of a claim's assertion does not make it true

-          - Arguments do not “count” unless they contain a claim, reasoning, and an impact (impact as in, "why does this argument matter for the round”)

-          -Dropped arguments are not points or auto-wins, they’re opportunities that need to be impacted.

-         - Examples of statements that, in themselves, do not count as arguments: “Extend our X evidence, it’s really good” “They’ve conceded the uniqueness debate”

-         4. Reading evidence

-         - Comparison of and debate over evidence is, all other things being equal, more important than quantity or mere existence of evidence

-Quality and strategic value of evidence is almost always more important than quantity 

-         - I try not to read more evidence than I have to. When I call for ev that means that I’m: Trying to break an argumentative tie, verifying truth claims made by the debaters, giving a team the benefit of the doubt or getting cites.

5. Speaking, Speaker Points, and Style

- I will follow any speaker point rubric provided by a tournament.

- Otherwise, I'll admit that as a young judge my speaker point "scale" is still a bit in flux and subject to impulse. My points are generally relative to tournament difficulty

- In the absence of a rubric, a 27.5+ indicates technical competency, a 28.5-6 signifies a performance worthy of early outrounds, ~29 or above signifies a performance worthy of a high speaker award. Bonus points for the stuff covered below. 

- Clarity over speed. Debate is foremost a persuasive, rhetorical activity, not a set of 1s and 0s. Err on the side of caution and be clear. 

-Topic Knowledge, Specificity, and History are Pluses. This applies equally to “policy", “critique", and "performance" teams. Specificity won’t necessarily affect how I judge the arguments, but demonstrate an impressive breadth and depth of topic knowledge tends to garner better points. Historicization is usually more important than reading an extra card. 

- Style. There is a fine line between being sassy and polite, and being rude and arrogant. That being said, I really like the former and really hate the latter. When in doubt, err towards being nice. Respect your opponent.

6. Random quirks

-         - Internal links matter more than terminal impacts. I care less about how many scenarios for extinction or root causes the K controls than I do about the ability of the alt to solve or the magnitude of your link.

     - “Role of the Ballot” should be an important argument but in most instances has become meaningless to me. The framework for evaluating debates is important to me, but I don’t think about them in a vacuum. I.e. If a team reads and thoroughly extends “policy-wonkage good” evidence, I consider that an answer to “Your role is to be a critical intellectual.”

7. Theory/Procedural Predispositions – since the assumptions debates are often unsupported and come down to judge presumptions, I figure I should make mine clear.

- Context and concreteness are important. I don't like thinking about theoretical concepts like limits and ground in the abstract.

-         - I tend to lean more towards reasonability than most judges

-         - Impacts. Yes, I think debate is largely a game, but I think it’s too important to be considered JUST a game. That means, “fairness” impacts don’t mean a ton to me in a vacuum, I’m more interested in what kind of activity certain types of fairness can create.

-         - I don’t kick out of CPs or Alts unless I’m instructed to.

-         - I have a slight neg bias on conditionality, absent contradictions. The litmus test for a contradiction is whether a double turn can be conceded. 

 - I have a slight aff bias for the following arguments: 50 states, consult, conditions, most CPs that include the full text of the plan/compete through normal means. 

nicholas jennings Paradigm

5 rounds

Overall: This sounds simple but it can be difficult, at the end of the round my ballot should sound like the begining of the 2AR or the 2NR. I would like you to explicitly implicate your arguments and form for me the basic idea of why I should vote for you. The best debaters tend to do this at the begining of every 2NR and 2AR.

Disadvantages: I don't like DA's with uniqueness counter-plans, other than that almost any disadvantage is acceptable.

Counter-plans: the legitimacy of counter-plans should always be called into question. why would you just let a team steal most your offense? I normally don't buy X type of counter-plan is a voter, however, I am more likely to vote for it as a reason to disallow the counter-plan. The burden of proof in those situations is much different, to win it is a voter you have to argue that debate is fundamentally impossible to do when X type of counter-plan is introduced. (an example might be Consult Counter-plans don't test the means or necessity of plan action makes it impossible to garner offense without conceding a DA, makes any choice the aff makes a bad choice.) However with rejecting the argument as the standard, I'd be willing to ask the question "Does this Counter-plan make the debate more or less educational, more or less fair. If it makes debate less educational and less fair then that is a sufficient reason to reject the counter-plan.

Kritiks: Theory wise sees counter-plans. Floating PIKS theory needs a Link. Clear and precise (Link-Impact-AltSolves-Perm doesn't) analysis is the quickest way for me to the pull the trigger on the kritik. If you can explain that full chain and I buy your analysis you're in a good place on the kritik (assuming you're not losing framework/theory/impact weighing. )

Framework: I think it's generally accepted that Affs should read frameworks that let them weigh their impacts against any kritik, also I generally think the aff is right they should be able to defend the fiat of the 1AC i.e. their impact claims shouldn't be wished away. Note to aff teams just because you win framework does not mean that you have answered the various impact framing arguments in the round, I've heard several times "but on framework they conceded we get to weigh our impacts." my response is then "Sure, but you don't win that we have any Value to Life in that world/that these threats are constructed and not real/that/etc. I don't think this is controversial at all.

Role of the Ballot: so unlike some people I don't think you have to explicitly state "our Role of the ballot is" while helpful sometimes one could also say "this debate round should be about x" or the "Role of the Judge is X" all of these are competing claims on how I should approach my ballot how I should vote, what my ballot means etc.

Kritik AFFs: I prefer affs that defend a topical plan for a kritikal reason i.e. we shouldn't surveil African Americans, followed by claims about how surveillance of black bodies is bad. versus just standing up and saying "Black bodies are surveilled that's terrible you have some kind of ethical decision making to vote aff, here's Memimi." This is a prefrence and doesn't mean i stop listening when an alternative debate style is defended its just what i find is the best solution to winning in front of me on a kritikal affirmative.

Framework (NEG): Framework can be a viable option for teams debating affs without plan text etc, as long as you answer and deal with the larger education/Fairness claims the aff is inevitably going to lob your way. You could win debate would be awesome with just policy affs but if you concede that this is a form of white settlerism that dominates and erases Native Americans from existence you tend to lose rounds on framework.

Components: need a clear and precise interp that allows you to skirt the offense of the aff, need a clear and precise "topical version of the aff", need to win switch-side debating is in fact good, need to win it's possible for X or Y type of people to enter into the political, do political actions, embrace politics or some other variant of "X type of people can do policy debate", finally need to win an impact. Do those have a solid shot of winning my ballot.