Jenny Heidt -- Westminster Schools

Use the back button on your browser to return to the pref entry page or tournament entry list. The judge philosophy appears in a different format at the bottom of the page.

Judging philosophy:

Jenny Heidt
Director of Debate
The Westminster Schools


I will vote on T if the interpretation is well developed and predictable (not arbitrarily designed to exclude the aff). Do what you need to but your 1NC will be more impressive if it is free of throw-aways. ASPEC is potentially a voter. OSPEC is ugly. Ultimately, I will be flow oriented so just do your best.


Neg on the K: I do not mind them. You are better off if the K turns the case or has a clear DA to the case than if there is some decision rule argument like “no value to life.” Pulling links from the 1AC, or giving example of how the K is the cause of the harms, or explaining how it would turn the aff in real world terms also helps. Try to adapt the K to the aff.

Aff on the K: I have seen a handful of teams massively invest in framework and lose because they drop so much else or forget to impact framework very well. Theory can be OK/needed against Ks that are all framework themselves but DAs to the alternative and solvency arguments are usually stronger.

Affs running the K: You need to have a topical plan. And, you need to be straight up when answering CX questions re: your framework. “Do state bad arguments link to your aff?” “Would causing a nuclear war theoretically outweigh your aff?” “Are politics DAs relevant?” You cannot avoid these questions and then make tons of no link arguments in the 2AC without your speaker points taking a big hit and me giving the neg substantial leeway to characterize your aff however they like. The bottom line is that you can have critical advantages but you need to defend a plan and the consequences of your worldview.


No leanings on dispositionality or conditionality. Multiple, especially multiple contradictory, conditional positions are more of a problem. Conditioning, consult, utopian CPs (anarchy etc), or CPs that PIC out of things not in the plan (such as the “immediacy” of the plan) are very vulnerable to theory.


Most of you need to slow down. Either: 1) you are not really gaining time because you are gasping/stumbling/repeating yourself/mumbling/interjecting meaningless phrases like "you are gonna see" and "we will always win that" in an effort to go fast or 2) you are speaking in a monotone that makes cards sound like a meaningless buzz. I give higher points to debaters who have natural sounding voices and breathing patterns + have speeches that are dense in substance/efficient.

I have noticed that flowing skills seem to be getting worse. I think that looking at a computer instead of listening or using embedded clash as a crutch for a weak flow are probably to blame. I will reward debaters with more precise refutation with points and, potentially, the decision if important things slip through the cracks.

Also, be professional. No swearing, no rudeness, do not start out speeches by saying that you are killing the other team, etc.


I think that it is good for the community (and inevitable) but, as we transition as a community, paperless teams need to make sure that everyone has comfortable access to the evidence. Also, I will stop prep when the speech is saved. As long as it is a reasonably fast process, the jumping/drop boxing etc time to get the saved speech on multiple computers will not come out of prep.


It is a speech—it should be 3 minutes long (no “I’ll take prep for an extra question”). Also, stand up, face me, and ask questions after you get the ev sorted out. Intervene in a partner’s CX if you have to but with the same caution you would have if interrupting your partner during any other speech.

Final notes?

Qualifications are a big deal if you bring up the issue. Positions entirely written by quacks (wipeout comes to mind) can be beaten without counter-evidence if the debaters make smart analytics. Warrants also matter so make comparisons.

Card clipping is serious cheating and I will intervene and vote against you if I am sure that you were clipping.

Seasonal voting record:

TourneyDivRdAFF    NEG    Decision

Judge Philosophy Alternate Format: