Final LD Topic List for 2016-2017 Released


Salt Lake City, UT — The LD wording committee has released the final list of topics for 2016-2017. Voting will take place over the summer.

Discuss your favorites (or least favorites) below.

LD Topic List 2016 – 2017


Resolved: The United States ought to become party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Resolved: The United States ought to limit qualified immunity for police officers.

Resolved: A just government ought to prioritize civil liberties over national security.

Resolved: The United States ought to end its provision of arms to foreign insurgents.

Resolved: The United States has a moral obligation to adopt a single payer health care system.

Resolved: Public colleges and universities in the United States ought not restrict any constitutionally protected speech.

Resolved: The United States government ought to curtail the Commander-in-Chief powers of the President.

Resolved: In the United States, national service ought to be compulsory.

Resolved: A just government ought to abolish intellectual property protections for genetic resources.

Resolved: The United States ought to guarantee the right to housing.



  • Harvey Birdman, Esq.

    University speech would be an uphill battle for the aff, given the use of “any.” They restrict time, place and manner of protected speech all the time — e.g., when you say, “You can have your protest in the quad, but not inside a dorm at night.”

    • Tom Geairn

      There is an argument to be had about that because any speech anywhere any time is not constitutionally protected. Fire in a crowded theater, protest permits, and so forth.

      • Harvey Birdman, Esq.

        There is, indeed –i.e., if it can be “restricted,” was it “protected” in the first place?

        That could be a very tricky semantic question, but the case law gives a pretty definite answer: Yes, it was — e.g., your protest was “constitutionally protected speech,” but it can nonetheless be “restricted” via permits, etc. You’re right that aff debaters don’t necessarily have to follow that analysis, but they will be fighting uphill against SCOTUS’s framing of the issue.

        I do wish the topic committee would consult an attorney if they’re going to use legal terms. There are plenty of us out there who coach on a volunteer basis.

        • Tom Geairn

          I agree. I don’t want to be ‘slimy’ or jump unnecessarily into fairness debates, but it doesn’t seem like allowing standard permitting of undesirable speech is aff ground in any reasonable interpretation of the topic.

        • Harvey Birdman, Esq.

          Nothing slimy about fairness arguments when you’re up against a poorly worded resolution.

  • j le

    the prez powers topic? time to mine the college wiki archives
    – that and the ICC topic are dope

    • the debater

      or you could just cut original cards jonas but i suppose that’s beyond you

      • Jonas

        I am not “j le” to clarify

  • Michael O’Krent

    “Resolved: Public colleges and universities in the United States ought not restrict any constitutionally protected.”
    Missing “speech” or “protections?”
    Otherwise a very good list. Thanks to the topic committee for good work.

  • Tom Geairn

    What happened to our capital punishment?! 🙁