Sep/Oct LD Resolution Announced

From the National Forensic League website:

Resolved: The United States ought to extend to non-citizens accused of terrorism the same constitutional due process protections it grants to citizens.

  • Rebar Niemi

    this new disqus is much more like-happy

  • Erik Baker

    Ask al-Awlaki what kind of due process protections the US government grants to citizens. 

    • Dave McGinnis

      I believe Obama’s argument in the al aulaki case was that his assassination met the Caroline test under international law. That is due process, of a kind.

      • Anonymous

        Why is Dave being down-boated? There was a judicial hearing where a judge (Holder?) deemed Obama’s action a subset of due process based on a bunch of case-specific details. Besides, there’s a difference between granting something and actually following through. At the bare minimum, the US meets the first but not the latter and the resolution can still be evaluated in the vast majority of situations.

        • 1) The Caroline test is a standard for self-defense under international law. It has absolutely nothing to do with the notion of constitutional due process, which usually refers to the procedures the government must use before depriving an individual of a protected interest.

          2) A judicial hearing is something that happens in an Article III court.

          3) The attorney general is a member of the executive branch and not a judge.

          Obama’s potentially plausible argument is that internal executive branch deliberation with approval at the highest level is sufficient to meet the constitutional standard.

          • Anonymous

            Oh the beauty of being informed. I apologize for the lack of research behind my comment. Thanks brosky

  • Anonymous

    Over all, I’m very satisfied with this topic (although I was pulling for the handgun topic). It also looks like the topic committee did a good job clearing up potential confusions with the wording. However, I still have a few questions, and I’m interested in others’ take on the topic:

    1. Does “citizens” here mean “citizens [accused of terrorism]”? That was my first impression, but now it seems to me that the comparison is between non-citizen terrorists and average US citizens. In that case, a “no terrorists should have rights” NC could negate the topic without discussing the issue of citizenship at all. Is that intended?
    2. What is the scope of affirmative fiat? Can the aff fiat any change in due process as long as it entails equal rights? That seemed to be the majority view on the analogous juvenile felonies topic. However, in that instance as well as this one, my take is that those cases fall outside of the topic. The topic only addresses changing the due process status of non-citizen terrorists to that of citizens, not whether citizens’ status should be changed. As such, the aff wins if terrorists should have the rights citizens currently have, even if citizens should have more or fewer rights than that.

    3. Which way does “no morality exists” go? The view I heard from other people was “no morality means no protections which means same protections”, but I don’t think this is right. If morality doesn’t exist, then giving terrorists different rights would be just as OK as giving them the same rights, so the resolution would be false (or perhaps incoherent given that it uses moral terms).

    • Dave McGinnis

      re: (1)
      We discussed that question when writing the topic. We toyed with various wordings that would specify one way or the other. As worded, it is ambiguous. I think there is an interesting question regarding whether “citizens accused of terrorism” typically receive the same due process protections as “citizens accused of other, non-terror crimes.” If that is the case, then this reading is irrelevant. 

      Obviously if there are differences such that US citizens accused of terrorism receive fewer due process protections than US citizens accused of other crimes, then the affirmative wants to defend that non-citizen terrorist accusees receive the same protections as their similarly situated citizen counterparts. Otherwise, the aff would have to defend that, in a world where US citizen terror suspects get reduced due process rights, non-citizen terror suspects should get MORE due process rights than their citizen counterparts.

      Of course there is another reading of the resolution that obviates all of this. The aff could simply argue that sameness is the burden per se, not any particular form of treatment. Then the aff contention would simply be that similarly situated individuals (that is, indiviudals charged with similar kinds of crimes) should receive the same due process protections regardless of their citizenship status and regardless of the particular due process protections under discussion. This interpretation best fits a deontological aff approach, and would also make most PIC ground on the negative pointless. So I like this interp.

      re: (2) 
      I agree with you but who can say what people will run. Debaters who like plan affs will probably present plans both liberal and conservative saying “Both citizen and non-citizen terror accusees should receive this slate of rights, here are advantages.” That position might be “no rights for anyone!” or it might be “lots and lots of rights for everyone!” I think those positions are poor ideas but that doesn’t mean they won’t be popular.

      re: (3) 
      For my money, the direction that “no morality exists” should go is straight into the trash can. Very, very tired of that debate. I saw my first stock skepticism neg in 1999 and the debate hasn’t improved much since then. It’s also the same debate every time. 

      I think the most stock interpretation will be “skep negates” because the resolution uses the evaluative term “ought.” If we accept the standard assertion that “ought to” is synonymous with “has a moral obligation to,” then proving that there are no moral obligations would prove that it is not the case that the US ought to do any particular thing. That seems straightforward to me.

      That said I’m sure affirmatives will not only pack their cases with 17 “skep affirms” spikes, but they will also pack thair affs with 49 “skep triggers” AND WE WILL ALL GET A LITTLE DUMBER FOR IT.

      • Anonymous

         finally some quality framers intent ev

      • Anonymous

        Thank you so much, Dave. This is really helpful for clarification