The Case: Constructive

The case is delivered by the first speech from the pro/con side. Generally, this speech consists of several “contentions” as to why the resolution is harmful/beneficial. The case does not need to directly respond to the case of the opponent -- it is a fully pre-prepared speech. A good case will have several main attributes:

First, the arguments will be fully explained. In debate, we understand arguments as having a link, a warrant, and an impact. The “link” is where the debaters assert causality between the resolution and an outcome. For example, on the resolution “the United States should prioritize economic growth over the federal debt,” someone on the pro side could say “prioritizing economic growth over debt gives us more leeway to increase our spending on infrastructure.” Now, the debater has linked the resolution to infrastructure.

Next, the debater must provide a warrant -- a logical reason -- why the link is true. Continuing with our example, a warrant for why focusing on growth allows infrastructure could be “putting the federal debt first leads to heavy constraints on the amount of federal resources that can be directed towards costly infrastructure bills, while growth-based policies view infrastructure as among the best of investments needed to accelerate an economy.”

The final part to an argument is the impact. The impact should quantify and/or evaluate how people are affected by the argument. Concluding our example, the impact to the infrastructure bill could be something along the lines of “therefore, increasing infrastructure spending would substantially reduce poverty. Joe Biden’s infrastructure policy is estimated to bring five million American children out of poverty.” Every argument should have the components of link, warrant, and impact. These will look and sound different from one argument to the next, but the fundamental components work together to justify causal assertions & therefore should be present in all contentions.