Q&A: Framing the round around Section 4

Q:What is the potential for putting the burden in the debate round involving that the debate and arguments must revolve around section 4 only, rather than using arguments using section 5 or 6 as an example? Would that be abusive?


If we look at the resolution’s wording, I think it is pretty clear that the voting issues center around Section 4. The question of the resolution, Resolved: The Supreme Court rightly decided that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act violated the Constitution, is

“Did the Supreme Court rightly decide Section 4 violated the Constitution?”

Therefore, the framework of the round can fairly argue that the judge’s vote should be centered on Section 4 and the arguments made around it.

It would be abusive, however, to say that your opponents cannot discuss Section 5 or Section 6 of the VRA. This is because the VRA works as an overall policy. These sections come together to make a holistic voting rights protection. You cannot deny that the other Sections are still functioning. Your opponents could also easily bring up Justice Thomas’s Concurring opinion which discusses Section 4 and 5 in conjunction (further illustrating their connectedness).

I believe the framework or burden you are looking for is based on the interpretation of “rightly.” If you read the resolution as a question of constitutionality, then Section 5 and 6 do not matter to the round. If you read the resolution as a question of moral correctness, then Section 5 and 6 matter a great deal. Your burdens, whatever you choose them to be, will hinge on your ability to defend your interpretation of rightly.


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