I'm a fairly new debater and I'm having a little trouble building my case (I've already been working on it for two days) and I'm still a bit stumped. I was wondering if you could give me a few pointers or just point me in the right direction.First, "distributive justice" doesn't seem to fit as a criterion, since it doesn't match the second contention, and only obliquely relates to the first. Instead, we might have a dual criterion. One is a utilitarian justification: just punishment deters crime and rehabilitates felons (Contention 2). The other is a side constraint: punishment must be given within the bounds of due process and equal treatment under the law (Contention 1). I think those, if properly argued and defended, could be sufficient grounds to reject disenfranchisement of felons.
Here is my Aff case so far.
cont 1-Felons are citizens
sub point A -all citizens should have the same rights
(evidence saying because all felons are citizens and they follow the same laws and have same legal duties the government should not be able to take away their rights if the felon has already served their sentence or is serving at the time)
sub point B-felons are equal to other citizens
(evidence supporting that felons are just like other people not completely moral or immoral and disenfranchising them is unjust)
Cont 2 Disenfranchisement is unjust punishment (I'm not quite sure how to tie it into my value and criterion if possible)
subpoint A-does not serve as a deterrent
(no evidence yet)
subpoint B- works against rehabilitation
(no evidence yet)
Subpoint A of the first contention needs help, though. If all citizens deserve the same rights, what justification do we have for taking away felons' rights to life, liberty, and property? We have to show either that voting is fundamental to citizenship in a way that those rights aren't, or come up with some other principle of justice that disenfranchisement violates, and retool the contention.
Okay, on to another case.
I'm a novice and I was to hoping to get away from the social contract on the negative side.The first argument, that felons are somehow unfit to vote, is usually argued in this way: felons have committed a crime and therefore have bad moral judgment; the state has the obligation to protect itself against those with bad moral judgment; therefore, the state has the obligation to disenfranchise felons. Still, the social contract lurks just outside, reappearing should any affirmative ask one simple question: in a democratic society, where does the right to vote come from?
A teammate gave me the idea of running how felon's mindset is bad for enfranchising them. Also, something about how that is demonstrated by a town with a non-felon population of 3,000 and in the same county there's a prison with a population of 5,000.
My value would be societal welfare, and my criterion would be governmental legitimacy.
The problem is, I'm having a hard time understanding how to link it all together and how to argue it without being subjective... especially after writing my affirmative case.
The mathematical hypothetical example given, at first, seems powerful. If 5,000 incarcerated felons vote en masse to elect a soft-on-crime candidate, despite the wishes of the peaceful minority, won't the social fabric be torn apart?
Not exactly, for several reasons. First, a society in which more than half the population are felons is hard to describe as "democratic;" it would be so awash in criminality to necessitate a tyrannical government, or have such terrifyingly bad laws as to strain credibility. Second, such a society would be so economically stagnant and hard to manage (who's going to keep that many prisoners under lock and key?) that it would soon implode. Third, the only realistic scenario under which this would take place is a "prison town" where the inmates are mostly residents of some other locale. (That's how it works in the U.S., at least. The prison isn't your legal residence.)
So, unless I'm making some huge error in fact or reasoning, I find that argument difficult to sustain.
If you have case questions, either post them in the comments or email them to me, and I'll tackle them here on the blog.