Lincoln-Douglas Debate Topics

LD debate topic for school year 2018 – 2019

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September – October
Resolved: In the United States, reporters ought to have the right to protect the identity of confidential sources.
*Note*
Please note that this is used for all LD divisions – WACFL does *not* use a separate Novice LD topic.
17/18 LD debate topics

School year 2017 – 2018

March – April
Resolved: The United States ought to provide a universal basic income.
January – February
Resolved: Plea bargaining ought to be abolished in the United States criminal justice system.
November – December
Resolved: Wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to other nations.
September – October
Resolved: In the United States, national service ought to be compulsory.
*Note*
Please note that this is used for all LD divisions – WACFL does *not* use a separate Novice LD topic.

School year 2016 – 2017

March – April
Resolved: The United States ought to guarantee the right to housing.
January – February
Resolved: Public colleges and universities in the United States ought not restrict any constitutionally protected speech.
November – December
Resolved: The United States ought to limit qualified immunity for police officers.
September – October
Resolved: Countries ought to prohibit the production of nuclear power.
*Note*
Please note that this is used for all LD divisions – WACFL does not use a separate Novice LD topic.

School year 2015 – 2016

March – April
Resolved: The United States ought to promote democracy in the Middle East.
January – February
Resolved: In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned.
November – December
Resolved: In the United States criminal justice system, jury nullification ought to be used in the face of perceived injustice.
September – October
Resolved: Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices.
*Note*
Please note that this is used for all LD divisions – WACFL does not use a separate Novice LD topic.

School year 2014 – 2015

NCFL Grand Nationals
Resolved: When in conflict, international actions to counter terrorism ought to take priority over national interests.
March – April
Resolved: Just governments ought to ensure food security for their citizens.
January – February
Resolved: Just governments ought to require that employers pay a living wage.
November – December
Resolved: The “right to be forgotten” from Internet searches ought to be a civil right.
September – October
Resolved: A just society ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased.
*Note*
Please note that this is used for all LD divisions – WACFL does not use a separate Novice LD topic.

School year 2013 – 2014

NCFL Grand Nationals
Resolved: When in conflict, national security concerns ought to be valued above personal privacy.
March-April
Resolved: Placing political conditions on humanitarian aid to foreign countries is unjust.
January-February
Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.
November-December
Resolved: In the United States criminal justice system, truth-seeking ought to take precedence over attorney-client privilege.
September – October
Resolved: In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory
*Note*
The Lincoln-Douglas topic above will be used for *all* divisions including Novice. There is *no* separate topic for Novice LD.

School year 2012 – 2013

NCFL Grand Nationals
Resolved: Just societies should never deliberately initiate war.
March – April
Resolved: The United States is justified in intervening in the internal political processes of other countries to attempt to stop human rights abuses.
January – February
Resolved: Rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution in the United States criminal justice system.
November – December
Resolved: The United States ought to guarantee universal health care for its citizens.
September – October
Resolved: The United States ought to extend to non-citizens accused of terrorism the same constitutional due process protections it grants to citizens.

2011 – 2012

NCFL Grand Nationals
Resolved: The United States ought not to intervene in the political processes of other sovereign nations.
March – April
Resolved: Targeted killing is a morally permissible foreign policy tool.
January – February
Resolved: It is morally permissible for victims to use deadly force as a deliberate response to repeated domestic violence.
November – December
Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.
September – October
Resolved: Justice requires the recognition of animal rights.

2010 – 2011

NCFL Grand Nationals
Resolved: The United States has a moral obligation to promote just governance in developing nations.
March – April
Resolved: The United States is justified in using private military firms abroad to pursue its military objectives.
January – February
Resolved: In the United States, juveniles charged with violent felonies ought to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.
November – December
Resolved: The abuse of illegal drugs ought to be treated as a matter of public health, not of criminal justice.
September – October
Resolved: States ought not possess nuclear weapons.

2009 – 2010

NCFL Grand Nationals
Resolved: That the United States government has a moral obligation to afford the same Constitutional rights to all people on United States soil.
March – April
Resolved: In the United States, the principle of jury nullification is a just check on government.
January – February
Resolved: Economic sanctions ought not be used to achieve foreign policy objectives.
November – December
Resolved: Public health concerns justify compulsory immunization.
September – October
Resolved: Public high school students in the United States ought not be required to pass standardized exit exams to graduate.

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2008-2009

2009 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: Military conscription is unjust.
2009 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: When in conflict, the preservation of minority cultural values ought to be valued above the preservation of a unified national culture.
March/April – Resolved: Vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.
January/February – Resolved: The United States ought to submit to the jurisdiction of an international court designed to prosecute crimes against humanity.
November/December – Resolved: In a democratic society, felons ought to retain the right to vote.
September/October – Resolved: It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.

2007-2008

2008 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: Limiting economic inequality ought to be a more important social goal than maximizing economic freedom.
2008 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: That secondary education in America should value the fine arts over athletics.
March/April – Resolved: Hate crime enhancements are unjust in the United States.
January/February – Resolved: It is just for the United States to use military force to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons by nations that pose a military threat.
November/December – Resolved: In the United States, plea-bargaining in exchange for testimony is unjust.
September/October – Resolved: A just society ought not use the death penalty as a form of punishment.

2006-2007

2007 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: On balance, violent revolution is a just response to political oppression.
2007 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: That judicial activism is unjust in a democracy.
March/April – Resolved: The United Nations’ obligation to protect global human rights ought to be valued above its obligation to respect national sovereignty.
January/February – Resolved: The actions of corporations ought to be held to the same moral standards as the actions of individuals.
November/December – Resolved: A victim’s deliberate use of deadly force is a just response to repeated domestic violence.
September/October – Resolved: A just government should provide health care to its citizens.

2005-2006

2006 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: In matters of collecting military intelligence, the ends justify the means.
2006 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: When in conflict, an individual’s freedom of speech should be valued above a community’s moral standards.
March/April – Resolved: Juveniles charged with violent crimes should be tried and punished as adults.
January/February – Resolved: The use of the state’s power of eminent domain to promote private enterprise is unjust.
November/December – Resolved: Judicial activism is necessary to protect the rights of American citizens.
September/October – Resolved: In matters of U.S. immigration policy, restrictions on the rights of non-citizens are consistent with democratic ideals.

2004-2005

2005 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: the pursuit of scientific knowledge ought to be constrained by concern for societal good.
2005 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: the primary purpose of formal education ought to be to impart knowledge.
March/April – Resolved: to better protect civil liberties, community standards ought to take precedence over conflicting national standards.
January/February – Resolved: democracy is best served by strict separation of church and state.
November/December – Resolved: the United States has a moral obligation to promote democratic ideals in other nations.
September/October – Resolved: individual claims of privacy ought to be valued above competing claims of societal welfare.

2003-2004

2004 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: civil disobedience in a democracy is morally justified.
2004 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: a nation’s citizens’ rights ought to take precedence over its security.
March/April – Resolved: as a general principle, individuals have an obligation to value the common good above their own interests.
January/February – Resolved: a government’s obligation to protect the environment ought to take precedence over its obligation to promote economic development.
November/December – Resolved: the U.S. has a moral obligation to mitigate international conflicts.
September/October – Resolved: in the U.S. judicial system, truth seeking ought to take precedence over privileged communication.

2002-2003

2003 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: rehabilitation ought to be valued above punishment in the U.S. criminal justice system.
2003 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: capitalism is the most just economic system.
March/April – Resolved: when in conflict, the letter of the law ought to take priority over the spirit of the law.
January/February – Resolved: when in conflict, globalization ought to be valued above national sovereignty.
November/December – Resolved: when in conflict, academic freedom in U.S. high schools ought to be valued above community standards.
September/October – Resolved: when the United States is engaged in military conflict, the demands of national security ought to supersede conflicting claims of individual rights.

2001-2002

2002 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: laws which protect citizens from themselves are justified.
2002 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: the people’s right to know outweighs the government’s need for confidentiality.
March/April – Resolved: limiting the freedom of expression of adults is justified by society’s interest in protecting children.
January/February – Resolved: oppressive government is more desirable than no government.
November/December – Resolved: a lesser developed nation’s right to develop ought to take priority over its obligation to protect the environment.
September/October – Resolved: decentralized governmental power ought to be a fundamental goal of democratic society.

2000 – 2001

2001 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: on balance, violent revolution is a just response to oppression.
2001 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: providing for basic human needs of citizens in a society ought to be valued above individual property rights.
March/April – Resolved: the public’s right to know ought to be valued above the right to privacy of candidates for public office.
January/February – Resolved: the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral.
November/December – Resolved: establishing a safe educational environment in grades K-12 justifies infringement of students’ civil liberties.
September/October – Resolved: colleges and universities have a moral obligation to prohibit the public expression of hate speech on their campuses.

1999-2000

2000 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: inaction in the face of injustice makes an individual morally culpable.
2000 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: discriminations made by society on the basis of chronological age alone are justified.
March/April – Resolved: the intervention of one nation in the domestic affairs of another nation is morally justified.
January/February – Resolved: violent juvenile offenders ought to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.
November/December – Resolved: the use of economic sanctions to achieve U.S. foreign policy goals is moral.
September/October – Resolved: when they conflict, respect for cultural sensitivity ought to be valued above the commercial use of free speech.

1998-1999

1999 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: capitalism is superior to socialism as a means of achieving economic justice.
1999 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: the objectives of democracy are best fulfilled through a separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers.
March/April – Resolved: human genetic engineering is morally justified.
January/February – Resolved: in the United States, a journalist’s right to shield confidential sources ought to be protected by the First Amendment.
November/December – Resolved: capital punishment is justified.
September/October – Resolved: the individual ought to value the sanctity of life above the quality of life.

1997-1998

1998 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: in the United States’ justice system, due process ought to be valued above the pursuit of truth when they are in conflict.
1998 NCFL Nationals° – Resolved: individuals ought to sacrifice their ideals for the sake of compromise.
March/April – Resolved: civil disobedience is justified in a democracy.
January/February – Resolved: a just social order ought to place the principle of equality above that of liberty.
November/December – Resolved: an adolescent’s right to privacy ought to be valued above a parent’s conflicting right to know.
September/October – Resolved: global concerns ought to be valued above conflicting national concerns.

1996-1997

1997 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: the public’s right to know is of greater value than the individual’s right to privacy.
March/April – Resolved: on balance, individuals ought to have a greater obligation to themselves than to their community.
January/February – Resolved: in United States policy, the principle of universal human rights ought to take precedence over conflicting national interest.
November/December – Resolved: when they are in conflict, a business’ responsibility to itself ought to be valued above its responsibility to society.
September/October – Resolved: when in conflict, society’s goal of eliminating discrimination ought to transcend an individual’s right to participate in exclusive, voluntary associations.

1995-1996

1996 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: That limiting constitutional freedoms is a just response to terrorism in the United States.
March/April – Resolved: when in conflict, American cultural unity ought to be valued above cultural diversity.
January/February – Resolved: an oppressive government is more desirable than no government.
November/December – Resolved: the pursuit of feminist ideals is detrimental to the achievement of gender equality.
September/October – Resolved: individuals with disabilities ought to be afforded the same athletic competition opportunities as able-bodied athletes.

1994-1995

1995 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: when in conflict, the safety of others is of greater value than the right to privacy of those with infectious diseases.
March/April – Resolved: on balance, institutional censorship of academic material is harmful to the educational development of the students.
January/February – Resolved: laws which protect citizens from themselves are justified.
November/December – Resolved: when in conflict, community standards are of greater value than individual liberty.
September/October – Resolved: an individual’s freedom of expression is of greater value than political correctness.

1993-1994

1994 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: when in conflict, protection of the innocent is of greater value than prosecution of the guilty.
March/April – Resolved: terminally ill patients have the right to die when and how they choose.
January/February – Resolved: when called upon by one’s government, individuals are morally obligated to risk their lives for their country.
November/December – Resolved: the public’s right to know is of greater value than the right to privacy of candidates for public office.
September/October – Resolved: secondary education in the United States ought to be a privilege, not a right.

1992-1993

1993 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: the protection of domestic order justifies the curtailment of First Amendment rights.
March/April – Resolved: the principle of majority rule ought to be valued above the principle of minority rights.
January/February – Resolved: when in conflict, the spirit of the law ought to take priority over the letter of the law.
November/December – Resolved: in the criminal justice system, truth seeking ought to take precedence over privileged communication.
September/October – Resolved: the U.S. military interference in the internal affairs of other countries is justified.

1991-1992

1992 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: the United States government ought to provide for the medical care of its citizens.
March/April – Resolved: the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral.
January/February – Resolved: a victim’s deliberate use of deadly force is justified as a response to physical abuse.
November/December – Resolved: human genetic engineering is morally justified.
September/October – Resolved: a liberal arts curriculum is preferable to an employment-readiness curriculum in U.S. secondary schools.

1990-1991

1991 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: members of the United States Congress ought to value the national interest above constituent’s interests when the two are in conflict.
March/April – Resolved: the pursuit of scientific knowledge ought to be limited by a concern for societal good.
January/February – Resolved: showing disrespect for the American flag is antithetical to fundamental American values.
November/December – Resolved: government limits on the individual’s right to bear arms in the United States are justified.
September/October – Resolved: competition is superior to cooperation as a means of achieving excellence.

1989-1990

1990 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: individual obedience to law plays a greater role in maintaining ethical public service than does individual obedience to conscience.
March/April – Resolved: development of natural resources ought to be valued above protection of the environment.
January/February – Resolved: communities in the United States ought to have the right to suppress pornography.
November/December – Resolved: all United States citizens ought to perform a period of national service.
September/October – Resolved: that the United States ought to value global concerns above its own national concerns.

1988-1989

1989 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: the American criminal justice system ought to place a higher priority on retribution than on rehabilitation.
March/April – Resolved: the public’s right to know ought to be valued above U.S. national security interests.
January/February – Resolved: limitations upon the content of student publications by secondary school administrators are justified.
November/December – Resolved: affirmative action programs to remedy the effects of discrimination are justified.
September/October – Resolved: the individual ought to value the sanctity of life above the quality of life.

1987-1988

1988 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: violent revolution is a just response to oppression.
March/April/May – Resolved: when they are in conflict, the principle of privileged communication ought to be subordinate to the maintenance of law and order.
December/January/February – Resolved: the protection of society’s health interest through broad based mandatory testing of AIDS ought to be more important than personal privacy rights.
September/October/November – Resolved: the protection of public safety justifies random, mandatory drug testing throughout society.

1986-1987

1987 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: when they are in conflict, the right to a free press is a higher priority than the right to a fair trial.
March/April – Resolved: a parliamentary system of government would better fulfill the values underlying the American Constitution.
January/February – Resolved: That decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in criminal cases ought to reflect the values of the American people.
November/December – Resolved: an unjust government is better than no government at all.

1985-1986

1986 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: giving sanctuary to illegal refugees in the United States justifiably places moral law above positive law.
March/April – Resolved: allowing innocent people to be harmed is preferable than giving into terrorists’ demands.
January/February – Resolved: the restriction of civil liberties in the United States for the sake of combating terrorism is justified.
November/December – Resolved: the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations.
September/October – Resolved: the use of sanctions to achieve U.S. foreign policy goals ought to be immoral.

1984-1985

1985 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: the American media works against the best interest of the American public.
March/April – Resolved: a just social order ought to place the principle of equality above that of liberty.
January/February – Resolved: nothing is politically right that is morally wrong.
Resolved: U.S. immigration policy is inconsistent with American ideals.

1983-1984

1984 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: uniformity in education leads to mediocrity.
March/April – Resolved: civil disobedience is justified in a democracy.
January/February – Resolved: even in a democratic society morality can be legislated.

1982-1983

1983 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: Liberty is more precious than law.
March/April – Resolved: protection of the environment should take precedence over the development of natural resources.
January/February – Resolved: funding for human services programs should take precedence over a balanced budget.
Resolved: the right to a free press outweighs the right to a fair trial.
Resolved: the right to die takes precedence over other ethical and moral considerations.

1981-1982

1982 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: the economic health of a nation is more important than the social programs for its citizens.
March/April – Resolved: it is undesirable to expend societal resources on the enforcement of laws against victimless crimes.
January/February – Resolved: the rights of the victim should take precedence over the rights of the accused in felony cases.

1980-1981

1981 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: That the protection of human rights should have a higher priority in shaping America’s foreign policy.
March/April – Resolved: military conscription is a superior alternative to a voluntary army.
January/February – Resolved: it is morally unjustifiable to require an individual to join a labor organization as a condition of employment.

1979-1980

1980 National Speech & Debate Tournament – Resolved: The strength of the present methods of funding the social security system outweighs the weaknesses.
° The National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) sets its own topics. The Association provides this for informational purposes only.

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