South Dakota Novice Case Limits


2014-15 Policy Debate Resolution

Resolved:  The United States federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the Earth's oceans.

Novice Case Limits

The case limits listed below have been adopted for the 2015-16 South Dakota Policy Debate season by the South Dakota Forensic Coaches Association (SDFCA).  These topic limitations will be used at those South Dakota Tournaments that adopt them.  The limitations do not apply to tournaments held in states other than those held in South Dakota.

  1. Government Surveillance Drones
  2. Require specific warrants for all electronic surveillance
  3. Curtail the Physical Surveillance of Muslim Communities

NOTE:  K and CP will be allowed second semester.

Rationale & Application

Novice case limits are established each year by the SDFCA to limit the areas of the high school debate resolution that novices will have to research and debate.  The goal is to make the debate topic manageable for novice debaters and to enhance the quality of debate.  As an organization of professional educators, SDFCA is committed to providing students with the opportunity to learn about real-world issues associated with a debate topic rather than promoting a narrow focus.  Debates should be decided on substantive discussion on an issue rather than on an affirmative case which catches the negative by surprise.

Judges are reminded that adherence to novice case limits is considered a voting issue in novice debate.  However, judges should not enforce the limits on their own.  If the limits are to be an issue in the round, it must be because the negative team has made them an issue.  All decisions on possible violations of the limits should be made based on the argumentation in the round.  If the negative argues that an affirmative case is outside the case limits, the affirmative has the right to argue to the contrary.  Each team is responsible for providing clear logic and analysis to support their position on the applicability of the affirmative case.  In the end, if the judge believes the affirmative has not convinced him/her that their specific affirmative case fits within the case limits, the judge should vote for the negative on the issue of topicality.

Judges, coaches, and debaters should also understand that by selecting these specific case limits, the SDFCA is not endorsing the topicality of all cases within these limits.  Traditional topicality arguments can still be presented by the negative team and should be considered by the judge.  It may be true during the course of the season that a judge votes FOR an affirmative team on the issue of complying with the novice case limits, yet vote AGAINST that team on the stock issue of topicality.  This would be a legitimate decision in a debate round.