I have been a policy, public forum ,and Lincoln Douglas debate judge for the past 5 years. I see debate as a communication activity which really embraces the philosophy of L.D. which requires debaters to speak clearly and at a rate that is comprehensible. It does not have to be oratorical, but it should be clear what the voting issues are and why you should win the round.

I believe that the affirmative does have the burden to prove his/her case in order for me to support the resolution. Therefore, the negative only is required to prove the resolution false. However, if affirmative carries the value in the round, which is hopefully supported most effectively through his/her case, affirmative is likely to win…..so the value debate is very important.

Every L.D. debate should have a core value, a value hierarchy (how values "stack up" against each other) and a value criterion (the standard by which we judge the core value in the overall value hierarchy). The value and value criterion are different animals. Many L.D. debaters treat the value criterion as just a different value, but it is different. For example, societal welfare (core value) can only be obtained by promoting public safety (value criterion). Therefore, the direction that promotes more public safety is necessary for gaining societal welfare.

I think it is difficult for Affirmative to win the round if he/she doesn’t carry the value….assuming both sides are arguing different values. So, yes….I believe that winning the value/criteria debate is essential for a debater to win (especially aff.) However, if both sides are defending the same value….then I vote for the individual that best meets that value. It would be difficult to “sell” me on the most desirable world/worldview independent of the value being defended. It could only be sufficient to win the round if the worldview encompasses the better value or the agreed upon value by the debaters. However, with that said....every round is different, and sometimes the value is not a big issue in the round for whatever reason. Debating is fluid, and as a judge, I try to do my best to judge fairly and not be held to an inflexible, rigid standard of what a L.D. debate round must always be. In general, the team that presents the most consistent and logical case, backed up by a lot of evidence, is going to win the round.

Ideal Debate: Debate is an argumentation and communication activity and there is CLASH between the two teams. I do not like lots of silly, trivial arguments…but do like issues that are well developed and discussed fully. Good arguments, well supported, clearly presented should prevail. I like clear, case specific analysis that is delivered in a comprehensible manner and rate. Make sure you weigh the issues and focus on the voting issues in the final rebuttals--especially why the value you are defending should prevail-- so that I am not left with that task myself.