The Instigator
Radicalguy44
Pro (for)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
Cody_Franklin
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

In the United States, organized political lobbying is a just check on government

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
Cody_Franklin
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,531 times Debate No: 11612
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (8)

 

Radicalguy44

Pro

Hello guys, I am radicalguy44 and I will prove in this debate that jury nullification actually is a good and just check on government.

I would like for this to be an LD debate, where value and criterias are used, and burdens are also upheld.

To my opponent, good luck my friend!
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AFFIRMATIVE CASE

"The primary function of an independent juror is not, as many people thing, to dispense punishment to fellow citizens accused of breaking various laws, but rather to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical abuses of power by the government." This quote from the American Jury Institute is why I strongly affirm the resolution Resolved: In the United States the principle of Jury nullification is a just check on the government.

DEFINITIONS: Jury Nullification (AS DEFINED BY THE US DICTIONARY OF LAW) A sanctioned doctrine of trial proceedings wherein members of a jury disregard either the evidence presented or the instructions of the judge in order to reach a verdict based upon their own consciences. It espouses the concept that jurors should be the judges of both law and fact."
Government: a branch or service of the supreme authority of a state or nation, taken as representing the whole

The value I offer in today's debate is that of justice, or the moral principle determining just conduct. Since the resolution talks strictly about the United States we must look to the very foundations of our American values, this is where we find the value of justice.

The criterion, in which I will measure justice on, will be morality or the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct. Something that is just in the resolution is based on what is morally right and fair. Nullification is a decision by the jury to provide justice rather than mercy.

CONTENTION ONE: Jury nullification, in its principle and application, serves as both a legitimate and just check on the government.

SUB POINT A: The principle and application of jury nullification serves as a just check on the power of the government. Professor James Duane at the Regent's Law School of Virginia says that "applying the letter of the law in all of its generality to every situation may not be appropriate." Ultimately, the law does not equal justice, so the only way to legitimately administer justice is through jury nullification. Without Jury nullification the people of the United States would be lacking this just check on the power of the government.

SUB POINT B: Jury nullification is a legitimate check on governmental power. Jury nullification is: a perfectly constitutional and legitimate means of administering justice. Nowhere in the constitution does it exactly say the words JURY NULLIFICATION, however, Professor John Van Dyke said, "The framers of the constitutions strove to create an independent judiciary but insisted upon further protection against arbitrary action…" It is much like the concept of freedom of expression, nowhere in the constitution does it say these words, however, freedom of expression is at the very core of our American values yet, is not in the constitution; it is inferred, but not stated. Beyond this, according to assistant Professor Andrew D. Leipold at the University of Illinois, jury nullification intervenes in situations where old, and often irrelevant laws, resurface. Jury nullification corrects these laws and ultimately legitimizes the system. The correct administration of justice and ultimately liberty cannot exist without jury nullification.

CONTENTION TWO: JURY NULLIFICATION INSURES THAT LAWS ARE FAIR AND LEGITIMATE
It is critical that we understand that the law does not equal justice not matter how you define it. There are times when laws are unfair and unjust. Carrie Ullman from the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics supports this saying that, "jury nullification can be a useful corrective tool in situations where the interests of justice and strict compliance with the law do not necessarily coincide." Jury nullification renders justice in these instances by administering it in ways that are out of the power of the judge. This position is illustrated by Professor Alan Scheflin from Santa Clara University saying that a jury can administer justice in ways that a judge cannot. Laws are not always just, therefore the power to nullify increases the amount of just rules, backing up the value of justice.

CONTENTION THREE: It is the right and duty of the people to keep government in check.
It is and always has been the duty of the American populace to keep their government in check so as to prevent tyranny and injustice. The founding fathers stated this clearly in the Declaration of Independence, "when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government". In an easier explanation, it is our job as the citizens of this nation to keep our government in line. Therefore, in order to protect the value of justice, nullification is needed.

CONCLUSION: Let me remind you, the resolution doesn't ask me to prove that nullification is GOOD, but instead, to prove that it is justified, which I have proven it to be. Nullification is proven to justify and check government, since we stop the spread of tyranny, and take a moral and just decision.
Cody_Franklin

Con

As an overall objection, I'd like to note that, while the resolution - as posted - is "In the United States, organized political lobbying is a just check on government." However, he is arguing about the principle of jury nullification; ergo, because he isn't debating the resolution, you'll vote Con.

Still, I feel it fair to go over the affirmative's case (to give him the benefit of the doubt); as opposed to presenting my case all at once, I'll integrate my own arguments into my attacks on the affirmative position.

1. The Standards (value and criterion)

a. His value and criterion are rather circular. He states that justice is a moral principle determining just conduct; yet, he states that morality (his criterion) is contingent on providing justice. He offers no objective standard of determining which actions are moral, and which are not; ergo, it's clear that morality isn't a criterion which can be used to evaluate his case.

b. His criterion, morality, is never applied in his case. At best, it is a superficial standard of evaluation which has absolutely no impact on the arguments he makes. Because he provides no objective standard of evaluation (and doesn't apply it, even assuming that his standard is acceptable), it's clear that he can't affirm the resolution.

c. On those terms, I'd like to offer an alternative set of standards in place of my opponent's.

Value: Justice

Justice is defined by Black's Law Dictionary, 7th edition, as the fair and proper administration of law. This is an important value in the United States because the justice system is set up primarily to apply laws in an objective fashion so as to impartially arbitrate disputes among men. If a law cannot be fairly and properly applied, the proper channels must be used so that the statute in question might be repaired or scrapped.

Criterion: Objectivism

Ayn Rand argues in The Virtue of Selfishness that the proper purpose of government is "as a policeman which protects man's rights... and settles disputes by rational rules". To ensure that laws are fairly and properly applied to that end, Rand states that the rules under which a government operates must be absolutely objective; otherwise, the use of force would remain solely in the hands of individuals, which contradicts the function of government as a policeman, and subjects individuals within a social setting to the equivalent of mob rule; ergo, objective law and the application thereof are the primary priorities of a just system.

With functional standards established, let's look at the contentions.

1. Nullification as a legitimate and just check

a. This argument is fallacious in that it relies on the presupposition that nullification is justified, and is a proper response to the unjust application of law; however, to assume this is to assume the truth of the resolution which the affirmative is supposed to be proving; ergo, this point is circular.

b. First of all, simply because something is a constitutional right doesn't automatically mean that it's a just check on government. The fact that the government possesses no power to stop nullification means only that nullification is an unchecked power, which is completely antithetical to the purpose of strengthening checks and balances - a purpose to which nullification claims to be committed. Furthermore, keep in mind that nullification doesn't actually rewrite laws - it merely refuses to apply a particular law (with the affirmative assuming that just laws will not be targeted), which says nothing to the government, as juries do not reveal the reasons behind their verdict. If one wishes to keep the legitimacy of the law intact, one must go through the proper channels to have the law changed so that the administration of law can remain fair and objective.

2. Nullification keeps laws fair and legitimate.

a. Once again, keep in mind that there are channels that can be utilized to change unjust laws; nullification doesn't rewrite the law, which means that it doesn't at all check government.

b. Just as laws can be unjust, so can jury nullification; however, unlike laws, there are no checks upon jury nullification. Juries do not answer to the judge, or to the attorneys, or to the people of their community. This means that the biases of jurors are unrestricted when nullification comes into play; ergo, the administration of law can no longer be objective since a nullifying jury is entirely unaccountable to any entity within the judiciary or the wider government.

c. Pro's argument again presupposes already that nullification is justified, and will produce just results - however, this is something that he as Pro must prove, not an assertion that Pro can rely on to add credibility to his position.

3. The right and duty of the people

a. This is a huge non sequitur:

The people have a duty to check their government; therefore, nullification is a just check on government.

This is yet another instance of Pro assuming in advance that nullification is a just check. The fact that we ought to check our government in no way means that nullification A) checks government, or B) does so justly.

As an overall response to the Pro position, I'd just like to point out that, besides assuming the truth of the conclusion to support his premises, his arguments are based upon a fatal flaw.

Even if we assume that nullification had the power to change laws, the lack of legitimate standards on Pro's part means that he has NO way to determine whether or not the laws in question (or the application thereof) is just. Because he can't definitively prove to you that nullification will combat governmental injustice, he can't say that nullification checks government, much less in a just manner.

So, because Pro's case repeatedly assumes the truth of the resolution to support his premises, and because the standards he establishes are not adequate to evaluate the resolution (or the case itself), it's clear that the only way to vote is Con.

See you in Round 2, Pro. It's 1:30 AM, and I'm going to sleep. :)
Debate Round No. 1
Radicalguy44

Pro

Thanks for accepting the debate! Good luck.
Yes, It was quite late when I had posted the debate, and I accidentally posted the incorrect resolution. I am glad that my opponent is debating on the real resolution I had in mind and not the one posted.

First I'd like to defend my case, and then I shall go on to attacking his case.

1) " His value and criterion are rather circular. He states that justice is a moral principle determining just conduct; yet, he states that morality (his criterion) is contingent on providing justice. He offers no objective standard of determining which actions are moral, and which are not; ergo, it's clear that morality isn't a criterion which can be used to evaluate his case."

As I previously stated, morality is simply my criterion that will measure justice. Morality measures justice, because in order to have justice, you need to go in accord of our American values. Without doing this, justice is not achieved. So in short, you need both in order to achieve what's best for the USA.

2) "His criterion, morality, is never applied in his case. At best, it is a superficial standard of evaluation which has absolutely no impact on the arguments he makes. Because he provides no objective standard of evaluation (and doesn't apply it, even assuming that his standard is acceptable), it's clear that he can't affirm the resolution."

I would like my opponent to read my case carefully. In order to achieve justice, we need to go in accord of our fundamental values, which is what my whole case is about.

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My opponent is all over the flow, so I guess my road map won't really work in this case.

1) "Value: Justice

Justice is defined by Black's Law Dictionary, 7th edition, as the fair and proper administration of law. This is an important value in the United States because the justice system is set up primarily to apply laws in an objective fashion so as to impartially arbitrate disputes among men. If a law cannot be fairly and properly applied, the proper channels must be used so that the statute in question might be repaired or scrapped."

We are in accord of the same value. But I strongly believe that justice works best in the PRO side, because sometimes justice is not achieved with jury nullification. Sometimes, there is a lot of evidence that pins down an individual to being guilty, and yet no justice is done.

2) "Criterion: Objectivism

Ayn Rand argues in The Virtue of Selfishness that the proper purpose of government is "as a policeman which protects man's rights... and settles disputes by rational rules". To ensure that laws are fairly and properly applied to that end, Rand states that the rules under which a government operates must be absolutely objective; otherwise, the use of force would remain solely in the hands of individuals, which contradicts the function of government as a policeman, and subjects individuals within a social setting to the equivalent of mob rule; ergo, objective law and the application thereof are the primary priorities of a just system."

My opponent believes that laws need to be under objectivity to ensure laws are properly applied. Laws that are not under objectivity don't necessarily mean that they are unjust laws. I don't see how this connects to my opponent's points.

3) IN his first contention, he says that nullification works as a type of checks and balance. This is not true. Checks and balances are fair in every case, and with jury nullification, mistakes are made quite often, not making it a true check on power

4) "Nullification keeps laws fair and legitimate"
I refer back to the John Peter Zengel case, where he was charged with printing seditious libels of the Governor of the Colony of New York, William Cosby. Even though there was enough evidence to frame him, he was set free. This was an unjust decision, since he obviously deserved to be penalized, but wasn't. This does not keep laws fair, because if it did, he would have been decided with "Guilty"

5) "The right and duty of the people"
To protest against the government of unjust laws is the duty of the people. In court cases, not every single person that consists of the people goes. Therefore, the right and duty of the people is not stressed in jury nullification

Again, I apologize for the big mistake in my resolution, but I am thankful to my opponent for arguing the resolution that I had put.

Thanks and please vote PRO!
Cody_Franklin

Con

1. The standards

a. All he does it restate that morality is his criterion; however, he drops my attack that his value and criterion are defined in terms of each other (that justice is a moral principle, and that morality depends on dispensing justice); in a sense, he has presented two values, and no objective standard of evaluation to determine justice OR morality. At the point that no such standard exists on the affirmative side, you negate.

b. The affirmative presupposes that all Americans share the same set of values; however, history shows us that this clearly is not the case, considering the large amounts of political diversity for which our country is so well-known. So, to say that morality is contingent on upholding "American Values" assumes first that all Americans hold the same values, and second that morality is grounded in the interests of the majority; however, this is nothing more than an appeal to popularity [http://www.nizkor.org...].

2. My standards

a. Concerning my value, he says, and I quote, "sometimes justice is not achieved with jury nullification." I agree to that; however, if he cannot guarantee that justice will generally be done in the face of government abuse, he can't claim to win the value.

Additionally, recall that for law to be fairly and properly administered, laws must be objective; however, Pro's allowance of the subjective whims of the jury into the justice system proves that he is, at best, allowing for purposeless legal inconsistency - I say purposeless because, since juries do not give a reason for their verdict, it's going to be pretty difficult to tell when the jury is trying to make a moral statement about a particular statute.

b. Concerning Objectivism, Pro argues that a lack of objectivity doesn't necessary equate injustice; however, when you consider that the fair and proper administration of law (a value we both agree upon) requires legal objectivity based upon consistent, rational rules, any subjective inconsistencies created by jury nullification are going to ruin the dispensing of justice, since defendants are essentially at the mercy of the jury if you accept Pro's case.

3. Pro's first contention

a. The argument that he makes here is that jury nullification isn't fair, makes mistakes very often, and isn't a check on government. It seems as if Pro has switched his position, and is now attacking jury nullification. So, you can flow through this first contention to the negative, since Pro himself is arguing against nullification as a fair check.

b. He drops the responses I make here, that:

A. Something being constitutional right doesn't make it a just check.

B. Nullification doesn't rewrite or get rid of unjust laws.

C. Nullification doesn't send a message to the government, since juries don't explain their verdicts.

D. If a law IS unjust, there are proper channels to go through to have the law changed.

4. Pro's second contention

a. This argument again seems to be in Con's favor, since it argues against the use of nullification in the Zenger trial, and against the use of nullification to make the application of law unfair, and thus, unjust.

b. He drops the response I make about how a nullifying jury is an unchecked power. Extend it.

c. Extend the response about how Pro presupposes the justice of nullification in order to prove the justice of nullification - it's circular.

5. Pro's third contention

a. Once again, Pro's arguments work for Con, since he openly states that nullification does not stress the "right and duty of the people" to protest unjust government action.

6. Closing arguments

I don't know if Pro got mixed up, or what; but, all of his refutations seemed to work to Con's advantage, since he was openly refuting the affirmative position.

Additionally, extend the argument that the lack of legitimate standards on Pro's part prevent him from determining whether a law is just or unjust; thus, he cannot definitively say that nullification combats government injustice, since he has no standard to determine when injustice is occurring.

Finally, keep in mind that argument - which he has dropped - that he has circularly presumed the resolution to be true to support his arguments; however, his duty is to prove the resolution true, not to assume that it is.

We'll see where Round 3 goes. Good luck, Pro.
Debate Round No. 2
Radicalguy44

Pro

Radicalguy44 forfeited this round.
Cody_Franklin

Con

Extend from Round 2.
Debate Round No. 3
Radicalguy44

Pro

Sorry for forfeiting, I haven't had much time.
I'll start by attacking

1)
"The argument that he makes here is that jury nullification isn't fair, makes mistakes very often, and isn't a check on government. It seems as if Pro has switched his position, and is now attacking jury nullification. So, you can flow through this first contention to the negative, since Pro himself is arguing against nullification as a fair check."

I would kindly like to ask my opponent to read my Contention 1. I stated that jury nullification is a just check on government, no where in my contention 1 did I say that it was unjust

2)
"a. This argument again seems to be in Con's favor, since it argues against the use of nullification in the Zenger trial, and against the use of nullification to make the application of law unfair, and thus, unjust."

My opponent did not explain why the con gets the point. I stated that the Zenger case was unjust, and he should have not been set free. Again, he is misquoting me

3)
"Once again, Pro's arguments work for Con, since he openly states that nullification does not stress the "right and duty of the people" to protest unjust government action."

cross-supply what i said before

finally, I would like to ask my opponent to read my case and see that I have not agreed with him.
Please vote PRo!

~Radicalguy44
Cody_Franklin

Con

*Preface*
I'm sorry if it seems like I'm being a bit lazy with this last Round; but, for whatever reason, it seems that my motivation to put all of my effort into this debate has mysteriously left me.

Now, considering that Pro hasn't exactly followed the flow of the arguments, I'll just go ahead and cover his extensions, and then deal with any necessary refutations/extensions of my own.

1. Pro's first Contention

a. This isn't an extension - simply a restatement of his original contention; however, he abandons these arguments in Round 2, where he explicitly states that "with jury nullification, mistakes are made quite often, not making it a true check on power". I'm not sure how I could misconstrue that to mean something other than "jury nullification is not a just check on government". So, what his contention says contradicts what his more recent Round 2 argument says. This contention obviously falls flat.

b. Once again, flow through the argument that something being a constitutional right doesn't necessary make it a just check on government (and related arguments). This is an argument repeatedly dropped by Pro, and this helps Con immensely by removing the entire "constitutionality" justification from his framework, leaving him nothing to lean on.

2. Pro's second contention

a. I understand that he is calling the results of the Zenger trial unjust - however, the Zenger trial is an instance where nullification was used to acquit the defendant (despite overwhelming evidence of guilt); if he calls that unjust, he isn't supporting the affirmative position.

b. Nullification still isn't checked. Unchecked power in a democratic society (or a democratic republic for you people who want to get picky) is a bad thing. Tyranny.

c. Also extend the argument about presupposing the validity of the resolution, as opposed to proving the validity thereof. Failure to meet the affirmative burden tends to lose rounds. Negate it up.

3. Pro's third contention

a. He urges you to cross-apply; considering that this argument was based in ignorance of the evidence - his Round 2 arguments which blatantly contradicted his stated position - I urge you to disregard that cross-application, and simply extend another instance of Pro arguing against the Pro position.

4. The standards

a. All of them are dropped by Pro. That means that you:

A. accept the lack of legitimate standards on Pro's part, and adopt Con's value and criterion.

B. recall Pro's flawed presupposition that all Americans will share the same values, and that the jury can somehow represent all of these views - accurately, and without personal prejudice - when the time comes to put the law on trial.

C. accept that only Con can provide justice through consistent application of law, and the checks integrated into the system to prevent the application of unjust laws/change laws which we know to be unjust.

D. accept Objectivism as the paramount (and only) standard, since laws must be objective and based on reason; however, since Pro openly admits that nullification is a subjective institution, he fails to meet the sole criterion in the round, and thus, loses the round.

Now then, the moment you've all been waiting for. My trademark. You know it, you love it, and you can't get enough of it.......... it's the

*POINTS BREAKDOWN*

Conduct: Tied/Con - neither side decided to be a douchebag. Though, I personally resent the "try reading my case" comments. So you might vote for me on that. Your choice.

S/G: Con - Obviously. There were capitalization, punctuation, and grammatical mistakes aplenty on Pro's part.

Arguments: Con - Also pretty obvious. Pro contradicted himself, and abandoned nearly every argument in the round, apart from the bare skeletons of his contentions.

Sources: Tied - Con used no sources, but there's was no effort on Pro's part since his sources were all integrated as a part of his case.

So, all things considered, 4-5 points Con. Thanks for the debate, Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Really? 12 to 5? Alright. Lol.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
I'm not even certain as to what happened in Round 2.
Posted by Radicalguy44 7 years ago
Radicalguy44
My bad.. the resolution was posted incorrectly, and for that I am sorry.
Thanks to my opponent for debating the resolution I meant to put

Resolved: In the United States, the principle of jury nullification is a just check on government
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
Erm, the resolution says the debate's about political lobbying, but all of your contentions are regarding jury nullification :/
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Vote Placed by philosphical 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
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