Maggie Leahy -- East Kentwood

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Judging philosophy:

evaluate debates from a theoretical policy making framework. I will cast my vote for the course of action or inaction that is most advantageous or least disadvantageous. This means that I will consider fiat to be real – distinctions between pre-fiat and post-fiat implications will be largely irrelevant. Fiat is merely enough to overcome inherent barriers, thus, the debate begins after plan has been passed but before it has been implemented or enforced. The theoretical legitimacy of the courses of action up for debate is at issue. I will vote against courses of action that are proven to be theoretically abusive. Examples of arguments that could be abusive include non-topical affs, conditional counterplans, etc. I will vote for kritiks that have policy implications. That said, I prefer criticism of the actions that the other team advocates. I find criticism of assumptions or issues the other team failed to consider to be less compelling because they have less specific links. I have yet to cast a ballot for or against anybody’s in round discourse and doubt I ever will do so. I have not read nor do I have a great deal of experience with many kritik authors so be sure to explain your warrants clearly. I don’t consider individual rejection or micro-political action to be policy options worth voting for. The only things my ballot has ever done are to decide who won the round and to influence what arguments will be run in front of me in the next round. Don’t assume I understand your arguments before the round starts – it’s in your best interest to make sure the issues you go for are well explained. In general, arguments need to be well articulated and implicated for me to vote on them. If I don’t understand an argument, I won’t vote for it. If your arguments don’t make sense, neither will my decision. Advocacy is imperative – it needs to be clear by the end of the round which course of action you are defending and the reasons why I should vote for it. Framing the debate in a logical manner and successfully setting up your round-winners will almost always help to persuade me toward your side, impact analysis may be a critical part here.

Topicality – I view T as a disadvantage using the resolution. if an affirmative is proven to be non-topical and as such theoretically abusive to the negatives, I will cast my vote against the affirmatives. There needs to be extensive explaination on the line-by-line to get me to vote on T, along with a clear abuse story.
Counterplans – I believe that a counterplan is a viable strategic option for the negatives. I feel that I am rather familiar with the counterplan theory debate. Like any policy option, I will not cast my vote for a counterplan that is proven to be theoretically abusive and thus illegitimate.
Kritiks – Just remember that fiat is real, the alternative has to be a policy (reject the plan is not a policy), and the implication has to fit in a policy framework.
Disads – I believe that a good disad is all but essential to an effective negative strategy. I also believe that this business of offense / defense on disads has grown out of proportion. I believe that disads can be mitigated to almost immeasurably small risk if a defensive argument is won cleanly. A good specific link will do wonders for increasing the risk I assign to a disad.
Case – I believe that a good case debate is rapidly becoming a dying art. I particularly enjoy a good warrant debate on the merits of the aff case. I hate hearing a 1AC that is never mentioned after 11 minutes into the debate. The odds are good that if your 1NC includes a topicality, a counterplan, a couple of disads as the net benefit, and at least 3 minutes on case, I will believe you started with a good strategy. From there, it’s up to you.
Speed – I will be sure to let you know if I am having trouble with your speed or clarity. If you are going to proceed at a fire engine wail, be sure to include distinctions between your tags, cites, and evidence. Additionally, I am probably less familiar with the common evidence on the topic; don’t assume that I already know your warrants.
Ethics – you do not want to make an ethical challenge that you cannot defend or lose an ethical challenge in front of me. The consequences of such will be damaging to your record and disastrous for your speaker points. I believe that the phrase ‘out of context’ is almost universally meant to be such an ethical charge. The only exception I have heard pertained to topicality definitions relative to the resolution.
Paperless debate- I believe there are both pros and cons to paperless debate, but I will not give leeway to not knowing how to utilize it. If it is clear in the debate round you are not flowing because you are just looking at the other team's speech then you will lose speaker points. You are taking your prep time by jumping files between computers, and I will count it against you. If some gets messed up on your computer, I can't help you. It is terribly unfair to the tournament by having rounds go 20 minutes (or more) later because of computer problems.

Seasonal voting record:

TourneyDivRdAFF    NEG    Decision

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