Judge Philosophies

Andrew Lake -- Washburn University

I debated for Washburn for four years. I now coach at Topeka West High School.� I am a flow centric judge and I am willing to vote on anything that is articulated well with a clear framework. I can handle most levels of speed so long as you are articulate. It is in your best interest to start relatively slow and speed up as the speech progresses (crescendo). The rest of this judge philosophy is how I will default in the event that you don't tell me how to evaluate a position.

Overall, net-benefits.

Theory: I love theory debates. Generally I will evaluate them through competing interpretations based on the standards and which standards I am told are most important.� 

Advantages/Disadvantages: Generally, uniqueness controls the direction of the link; extinction and dehumanization� are terminal impacts. A 1% chance of a disad/adv occurring gives that team "offense" for the ballot.


CP: Counterplans should be competitive and switch presumption from the negative to the affirmative. Thus, the CP has to give me a net-benefit over the case or a perm to warrant a ballot. I am willing to vote on CP theory if those arguments are won.


K: I wasn't a big K debater, but I have argued them and judged them frequently. You should be able to explain your K, its framework, link, impx, alt and alt solvency. Buzz words, and name dropping are not a substitute for the former explanation. I am willing to vote on framework and similar arguments if those theory arguments are won

Colten White -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Darren Elliott -- Kansas City Kansas Community College


David Bowers -- Missouri Valley College


Dean Ziegelman -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Gage Brookman -- Missouri Valley College


Jackson Slechta -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Jackson Hermann -- Washburn University

Joe Allen -- Washburn University

John Williams -- Washburn University

Overview: These are my defaults. Everything is up for debate.

Iâ??ve done debate for a long time and Iâ??ve done every form of debate including NDT-CEDA, NPDA-style Parliamentary debate, Lincoln-Douglass, and Worlds at KCKCC and Washburn.

I am a heavy flow critic. I find myself looking towards the arguments and how they function in the debate over the inherent â??truthâ? of an argument. I will vote on an argument I know is not true (many economy arguments, for example) if this is not refuted and disproven if I am persuaded by the function of that particular argument. Basically, I am tech over truth in most instances.

However, I will not vote on arguments such as racism good, patriarchy good, transphobia good, ableism good, colonialism good, etc. Give content warnings for graphic content. If there are any of the aforementioned violence practiced theoretically or materially in round I will vote against your team immediately. These types of injustices kill education and means that no ethical pedagogy can occur. Zero tolerance here.

I am more interested in your argument than your author. Avoid name-dropping your author in order to try and win an argument without doing the analysis that makes it an actual argument (an argument is claim, data, warrant. No warranting means the evidence youâ??re using has no true application in this space). This is an odd trend in debate that should be limited.

Flashing is not considered prep time. Cross-ex can be determined to be ran however the debaters are most comfortable and it is up to them to decide.

I am fine with any speed you choose, you will not go too fast for me. However, watch the acoustics in the room as I have an audio-processing disorder and if you are not clear I cannot flow you. Also, do not spread just to push the other team out. That is an accessibility issue and if they are pushed out of the round and make an abuse argument or criticism of your practices I have a low threshold to vote on it.

Topicality: I love it. A good T debate is my favorite debate to judge and was my favorite argument to run. T is always a voter because it taps into the performative aspects of debate and how this education can be effective. They are always about competing interpretations and the reasons as to why that interpretation is more beneficial than others. You must weigh the offense based on your standards/voters vs. the C/I and their subsequent standards/voters. You have to win your interpretation is the best for the debate. This applies to all theory arguments. Oh, and reasonability is composed of two parts: topic literature and grammar of the resolution. If you just say "we are reasonably topic...like come on" I will probably not vote for you.***

***Topicality is just an agreement between two teams on what is to be debated. If there is/are more pertinent issue(s) that the teams wish to discuss (e.g. anti-blackness, transphobia, colonialism, ableism) of a particular event that is proximal to the debaters then that is okay. Do not think you are stuck to the topic if there is a general consensus on what should be debated.

Framework: I also love framework, but your blocks better be updated and stop using arguments from 2005 that K affs collapse high school programs and that this is the wrong forum. The debate has evolved since then. I believe framework is a criticism of the affirmativeâ??s method, but it also can be utilized as theory or a counter-advocacy if paired with the correct arguments. Utilize a T version of the aff to win my ballot.

Counterplans: Read one, please. If you donâ??t, you need status quo solves. I am okay with presumption (I have gone for it many times myself) but it needs to be utilized correctly. If you read a perm text, please give SOME explanation on how the perm functions. I donâ??t view perms as advocacies (no one does anymore) because the CP is just opportunity cost to the affirmative, so donâ??t act like you suddenly have an amazing new net-benefit because you permutated the CP. They compete through net benefits, textual competition is a joke 99% of the time. Presumption never flips aff. Presumption, simply put, is that the existing state of affairs, policies, programs should continue unless adequate reasons are given for change. Now like everything in this philosophy this is a default. To say that presumption flips affirmative is just to say that the affirmative has achieved their prima facia burden to prove that the SQ needs change. I believe condo is good, good luck proving otherwise. Other theory is acceptable if adequately proven (Delay/PICs bad).

Criticisms/Performances: I was a performance/K debater, so I am familiar with most lit you will be running. Do not ever run this as a â??gotchaâ? or to push the other team out of the round. It should be an advocacy. Additionally, I do not think white debaters should run anti-blackness. I do not think non-queer individuals should run queer theory. This runs the line of commodification and you cannot work within that positionality if you are not that positionality, meaning that you will never truly understand what you are running and operating form a position of privilege to do so. I am okay with whatever criticism or performance you so choose to run, just make sure you can explain it and how it solves the aff.

Any other questions just find me and ask.

Justin Kirk -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Katilyn Bull -- Washburn University

My background: I debated for 5 years on the NPTE/NPDA circuit (2 years at the University of Texas at Tyler and 3 years at Washburn University). I competed in policy debate in high school for 4 years. I have my BA in Political Science with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. I'm also in my first year of law school so I'm not as involved with coaching and judging this year as I was in the past.

Highlights: I think that debate is a game in which you should make use of all the tools that you can creatively deploy. I prefer debates that engage the topic and in an ideal situation utilize fiat to do so, but I will definitely listen to arguments that interpret the topic differently. I would prefer that you read advocacies unconditionally and I will vote on conditionality. I protect from new arguments in rebuttals, but if you feel the need then still call them if you must. Impact calculus is the most important thing to me as a judge. I want the rebuttal speeches to help me craft my ballot through the lenses of timeframe, probability, and magnitude (not necessarily in that order). Since I am in my first year of law school I am not as involved with the team. Please if this is a topic area tournament do not assume that I know everything about the topic.

Identity/Performance/Critical Arguments: I judge these arguments similarly to other criticisms. Therefore, I need a clear advocacy; it does not need to be an alternative, but make your advocacy clear (whether it be a poem, metaphor, alt, etc.). I need you to frame the debate for me through unique impacts you may garner from these type of arguments. I'm willing to listen to "role play as the state" framework strategies from the negative, but I think the biggest mistake neg teams make here is not answering the arguments on the aff proper and they end up being framed out. I do think that if you are rejecting the resolution then you need some sort of justification for doing so or a link to the resolution because I think this fosters creativity.

Flowing: Give me enough time to switch tabs on my laptop when you switch sheets. If I think you are too quiet, unclear, or fast I will let you know immediately. Speed is not really an issue, clarity is.

Texts and Interpretations: You can either provide me with a written copy of the text or slow down when you read the plan/cp/alt and repeat it. I think this is very important during theory debates and framework debates. I'll ask you to repeat it before the next speech/prep begins if I don't get it.

Procedurals/Theory/T: I enjoy a good T debate and I default to competing interpretations, but this does not mean that I wonâ??t listen to other frameworks for evaluating T. I am not a fan of RVIâ??s. I understand the utility of these arguments, but they likely arenâ??t going to win my ballot. I do not need real in round abuse, but an abuse story needs to exist even if it is potential abuse. I need procedurals to have clearly articulated interpretations, violations, standards, and voters not just blips in the LOC of, â??vote for us for fairness and educationâ?. I view topicality similarly to a disad in that I view standards as being the internal links to the voters (impacts). I am not a huge fan of multiple new theory sheets in the MG. I have a low threshold for theory, eh I'm a T hack I guess.

Disads: I enjoy topic specific disads. As a side note, I have higher standards for voting on politics than most others because I ran the argument so often. I need specifics such as vote counts, whose whipping the votes, sponsors of the bill, procedural information regarding passage, etc.

CPs: I love counter-plans and I regret my under-utilization of them while I was a competitor. I am not prone to vote against any type of counter-plan. I prefer functional competition over textual competition because it is easier to weigh and more tangible to me.

Ks: I enjoy criticisms and I believe that they can offer a very unique and creative form of education to the debate space. If your criticism is complicated then I would like a thesis page or an explanation of what the alternative does. I really enjoy a good perm debate on the K and am not opposed listening to theory regarding the alternative/perms (floating PICs, severance, etc.).

Iâ??m going to borrow a bit about alternatives directly from Lauren Knothâ??s philosophy as it describes my feelings regarding complicated alternatives perfectly.

â??***Important*** I need to have a clear explanation of what the alternative does, and what the post-alt world looks like. Stringing together post-modern terms and calling it an alternative is not enough for me if I have no idea what the heck that means. I prefer to know exactly what action is advocated by the alternative, and what the world looks like after passage of the alternative. I think this is also necessary to establish stable solvency/alternative ground for the opposing team to argue against and overall provides for a better debate. Good theory is nothing without a good mechanism with which to implement it, and I'm tired of this being overlooked.â?

Perms: I really enjoy perm debates. I think that the text of the perm is critical and must be clear in the debate. Slow down, read them twice, and/or give me a copy of the text. You donâ??t have to read the entire plan text in K debates and instead it is sufficient to say, â??do the plan and xâ?. My definition of a legitimate perm would be that they are all of the plan and all or parts of the CP/Alt. I think that perms serve as tests of competition.

Keenan Hogan -- Washburn University

Kristen Stout -- Crowder College


Quintin Brown -- Washburn University

Scott Elliott -- Kansas City Kansas Community College


Shanna Carlson -- Illinois State University

Background: I competed in parliamentary and LD debate for Washburn University for five years (2005-2010). I freelance coached and judged for three years. I have taught high school and college debate camps for the University of Texas-Dallas, ISU, and Kyushu University in Japan. I am currently the Director of Debate at Illinois State University.


I am unable to flow too much speed due to an issue with my hand. I will give you 2 verbal "speed" warnings before I just stop flowing all together!

I believe that the debate is yours to be had, but there are a few things that you should know:

1. Blippy, warrantless debates are mind numbing. If you do not have a warrant to a claim, then you do not have an argument even if they drop it. This usually occurs at the top of the AC/NC when you are trying to be "clever." Less "clever," more intelligent. I do not evaluate claims unless there are no real arguments in a round. Remember that a full argument consists of a claim supported by warrants with evidence.

2. I believe that the speed at which you go should be accessible to everyone in the round, this means your competitor and other judges on a panel. I am open to voting on accessibility and/or clarity kritiks. SPEED SHOULD NOT BE A TOOL OF EXCLUSION!!!!!!

3. I often vote for the one argument I can find that actually has an impact. I do not evaluate moral obligations in the round (if you say "Moral Obligation" in college LD Debate I stop flowing, take a selfie, and mock you on social media). This does not mean I will not vote for dehumanization is bad, but I need a warrant outside of just telling me I am morally obligated to do something. Moral obligations are lazy debate, warrant out your arguments. HIGH SCHOOL LD DEBATERS- IGNORE THIS

4. Run whatever strategy you want--I will do my best to evaluate whatever you give me in whatever frame I'm supposed to--if you don't give me the tools I default to policy maker, if it's clearly not a policy maker paradigm round for some reason I'll make something up to vote on...basically, your safest bet is to tell me where to vote.

5. If you are rude, I will not hesitate to tank your speaker points. There is a difference between confidence, snarkiness, and rudeness.

6. When running a kritik you need to ensure that you have framework, impacts, links, an alternative text, alt solvency, and role of the ballot (lacking any of these will make it hard for me to vote for you)...I also think you should explain what the post alt world looks like.

7. If you are going to run a CP and a kritik you need to tell me which comes first and where to look. You may not like how I end up ordering things, so the best option is to tell me how to order the flow.

8. Impact calc is a MUST. This is the best way to ensure that I'm evaluating what you find to be the most important in the round.

9. Number or letter your arguments. The word "Next" or "And" is not a number or a letter. Doing this will make my flow neater and easier to follow and easier for you to sign post and extend in later speeches. It also makes it easier for me to make a decision in the end.

10. I base my decision on the flow as much as possible. I will not bring in my personal beliefs or feelings toward an argument as long as there is something clear to vote on. If I have to make my own decision due to the debaters not being clear about where to vote on the flow or how arguments interact, I will be forced to bring my own opinion in and make a subjective decision rather than an objective decision.

11. If you advocate for a double win I automatically vote for the other person, issue you 1 speaker point, and leave the room. This is a debate, not a conversation. We are here to compete, so don't try to do something else.

12. Wilderson has stated that he does not want his writings used in debate by white individuals. He believes that the use of his writings is contradictory to what he overall stands for because he feels like you are using his arguments and black individuals as a tool to win (functionally monetizing black individuals). So for the love of all that is good please stop running these cards and respect the author's wishes. If you are white and you run his evidence I will not evaluate it out of respect for the author.

13. I will give you auto 30 speaker points if you read your 1AC out of an interp black book with page turns.

Really, I'm open to anything. Debate, have fun, and be engaging. Ask me any questions you may have before the start of the round so that we can all be on the same page :) I also believe this activity should be a learning experience for everyone, so if after a round you have any questions please feel free to approach me and talk to me! I truly mean this because I love talking about debate and the more each debater gains from a round will provide for better rounds in the future for me to judge. If you ever have questions about a comment or RFD please ask. My email is sjcarl3@ilstu.edu

Shawna Merrill -- Illinois College

My competitive background is mainly in parli, but I judged LD throughout the 17/18 season and am currently head coach of a program competing in NFA-LD.

Debate is ultimately a communication endeavor, and as such, it should be civil and accessible. I’m not a fan of speed. I can handle a moderate amount especially as I follow along with your docs (I want to be included on speechdrop, email chains, etc.), but at the point that you’re gasping for air, I’m over it. Using speed as a strategy to spread your opponent out of the round is not okay for me.

I’m not a big T person. While I prefer proven in-round abuse to vote on T, I will vote for competing interpretations if it’s done well. Basically, if you run T, you’d better mean it. Don’t use it as a time sink.

I will vote on Ks if they address the topic/refute the plan. I enjoy a good critical argument, but don’t assume I’m familiar with all of your literature.

My favorite types of rounds are ones that engage in direct clash and cover the flow. Attend to the link stories and connect the dots as to how we get to your impacts. I’ll vote on just about any argument as long as it’s clearly explained and defended.

Bottom line: don’t try to get too fancy. Run arguments you understand and do what you’re comfortable with.

Shelby Carey -- Illinois College


Steven Gill -- Simpson College


Tyler Behymer -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Zach Hadenfeldt -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln