Kevin Hamrick -- Montgomery Bell

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Judging philosophy:

I prefer listening to debates wherein each team presents and executes a well-researched strategy for winning. If you are a team that that has lots of good specific evidence formed into a coherent strategy, I am likely to be a good judge for you. The flavor of your arguments matters less to me than how you establish clash with your opponents’ arguments. If you run an affirmative that has little to do with the topic, or if on the negative you rely on bad topicality or theory arguments, overly generic Ks, or consultation counterplans, then I most likely am not the judge for you. If you have few or just bad cards, I definitely am not the judge for you. Nevertheless, I am open to most anything, understanding that sometimes “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do” to win the debate.

At the end of the debate, I vote for the team that defends the superior course of action. My ballot constitutes an endorsement of one course over another. To win the debate, the affirmative must prove their course is preferable as compared to the status quo or competitive alternatives. An alternative is proven a superior course of action when it is net beneficial compared to the entirety of the plan combined with part or parts of the alternative. Simply solving better than the affirmative is not enough: the alternative must force choice. Likewise, claiming a larger advantage than the affirmative is not enough to prove the alternative competitive. A legitimate permutation is defined as the entirety of the plan combined with parts or parts of the alternative. Also, the avoidance of potential or "unknown" disadvantages, or links of omission, is insufficient: the negative must read specific links and impacts in order to evaluate the relative merits of the plan and the alternative.

The words of the topic should be examined as a whole. Ultimately, ground issues determine how strict an interpretation of the topic that I am willing to endorse. The most limiting interpretation of a topic rarely is the best interpretation of a topic for the purposes of our game. The topic is what it is: merely because the negative wishes the topic to be smaller (or the affirmative wishes it bigger, or worded a different way) does not mean that it should be so. A plan has to be at its most topical the first time it is run.

I don’t care about any of your SPEC arguments. The affirmative must use the agent specified in the topic wording: no more, no less.

All theory arguments should be contextualized in terms of the given topic and the resultant array of affirmative and negative strategies. Conditional, topical and plan inclusive counterplans are legitimate. A negative strategy reliant on a consultation counterplan produces an environment in which in which I am willing to allow greater maneuverability in terms of what I view as legitimate permutations for the affirmative. Not acting (a/k/a the status quo) always remains an option.

Critical arguments are subject to the same evidentiary and competitiveness standards as any other debate argument. The negative criticism of the affirmative must have a clearly-delineated link to the affirmative and force a choice. Again, links of omission are insufficient. Likewise a critical affirmative must fulfill the obligations of any other affirmative--it must be topical and proven to provide a more advantageous course.

I tend to provide a lot of feedback while judging, verbal and otherwise. If you are not clear, I will not attempt to reconstruct what you said. I tend to read the cards identified by the last two rebuttals as establishing the critical nexus points of the debate and will read further for clarification and understanding when I feel it necessary. Reading qualifications to your evidence will be rewarded with more speaker points. Reading longer, more warranted evidence will be rewarded with significantly more consideration in the decision process.

I believe that both basic civil rights law as well as basic ethics requires that debaters and judges conduct themselves in rounds in a manner that protects the rights of all participants to an environment free of racial/sexual hostility or harassment.

Seasonal voting record:

TourneyDivRdAFF    NEG    Decision

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