The Instigator
Con (against)
14 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
13 Points

The United States Supreme Court is a reliable source in debate regarding constitutionality.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/10/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,651 times Debate No: 14354
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
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The United States Supreme Court -

Reliable source - a source that satisfies the voters as they take the court's claim as true

Constitutionality - compatibility between some action of a government and the United States Constitution

Basically, the PRO position shall be that in a debate, claiming that an issue is (un)constitutional by citing a Supreme Court ruling, without an explanation as to why the Court's reasoning makes sense regarding the constitutional issue, should be sufficient in proving a point. As CON, my position is that the Supreme Court is not reliable enough that their decisions can be taken without analyzing their reasoning.

There should not be a semantics issue. If you can in any way spot a semantics issue, please tell me in the comments before I start the debate.

This first round is for accepting the debate only. Contentions shall start in Round 2. In the final round, the Contender may not use any brand-new arguments, as I shall have no way to respond.

Finally, good luck to whoever accepts this debate.


I would like to thank the instigator for posing such a pertinent and valid question and accept his challenge.

This is my first debate on, so I would like to apologize in advance for any breaches of conduct that may occur.

I'm not completely clear on what the con means when saying that the first round is for accepting the debate only, I am taking it to mean that the arguments themselves will start in round two.

I look forward to your opening remarks.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, ReformedArsenal, for accepting this debate, and as it is your first debate, may it be a good one.

My opponent is correct in that the arguments start in Round 2, which happens to be this round, so...

Contention 1-: The Supreme Court is heavily biased

It's rather obvious that the Supreme Court isn't perfect. They are mortal men, after all. And as mortal men, they have their own biases, subjecting their decisions to not reason but emotional response or personal desires. As Justice William O. Douglas put it, "At the constitutional level where we work, 90 percent of any decision is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for supporting our predilections" [1][2].

In the case of Fletcher v. Peck (1810), Justice John Marhall ruled in favor of landowners and for a contract that was self-evidently the result of bribery, he himself being an investor in land [1].

In numerous cases, the Supreme Court grants itself more power over the states, as it always does whenever it unconstitutionally strikes down a state law. This is also a bias for itself. Justice Hugo L. Black was particularly notorious with power expansion, striking down constitutional laws passed by the state using the First Amendment, which specifically applied only to Congress, with the chief goal of striking down Christianity [1].

Contention 2-: The Supreme Court contradicts itself repeatedly

Compare Minersville School District v. Gobitis (1940) [1][3], which ruled that Pennsylvania could require students to salute the flag, to West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) [1][4], which ruled that requiring students to salute the flag was unconstitutional.

Compare Stanley v. Georgia (1969) [1][5], which ruled that one had a right to own obscene materials, to Miller v. California (1973) [1][6], which ruled that obscene materials were not protected anywhere in the Constitution.

Compare Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) [7], which ruled that public schools could discriminate based on race, to Brown v. Board of Education (1954) [1][8], which ruled that they could not, and again to Green v. County School Board of New Kent County (1968) [1][9], which ruled that they must.

Case in point, the Supreme Court contradicts itself within a matter of years, so how can they be considered reliable?

Contention 3-: The Supreme Court rarely actually invokes the Constitution correctly in its rulings

The most powerful quote I can offer for this point is Justice Anthony Kennedy's "We must never lose sight of the fact that the law has a moral foundation, and we must never fail to ask ourselves not only what the law is, but what the law should be" [1][10].

Deciding what the law "should" be is a job of the legislatures. The Court's function is to interpret what the law is. The Court has broken this rule time and time again in history.

Perhaps the most prevalent example is the misapplication of the First Amendment of the Constitution, which reads that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." This amendment only mentions Congress, not the Congress of any particular state. However, many rulings have applied First Amendment restrictions to state laws, from the aforementioned West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette to Larkin v. Grendel's Den (1982) [1][12], which ruled that Massachussetts could not ban bars from within 500 feet from any church or school that did not want the bar there.

In short, the Supreme Court is self-contradictory, biased, and all too often flat-out wrong, and therefore should not be held as reliable in debate.

I may add cases to my current contentions, or add other contentions in future rounds, although these will probably be sufficient.

Good luck, ReformedArsenal. I look forward to your response.

1. The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, Kevin R. C. Gutzman, J.D., Ph.D


I would like to thank my opponent for his time and well reasoned argument. As well as for the abundance of sources and work put into the discussion.

In order to understand the Constitution, and therefore the Constitutionality Debate, one must understand the Ethical framework for such a document and for the government that document creates. This ethical framework is something known as Social Contract Theory

"The notion of the social contract implies that the people give up sovereignty to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order through the rule of law. It can also be thought of as an agreement by the governed on a set of rules by which they are governed." [1] Essentially, by agreeing to participate in the benefits of the social contract (safety, social programs, residency, citizenship, etc) authority is given to various government figures. Particularly pertinent to our discussion is a theory called "Consent of the governed." Essentially this aspect of social contract theory states that authority is only legitimate when it is given by the people it is governing. [2] This means that a foreign people cannot give a government authority over us. This was the primary frustration that our founding fathers had with the Rule of England during the American Revolution. In essence it is the opposite of "Taxation without Representation."

==Contention 1 - Obligation to the Constitution==
Now, our government is a government "For the people, by the people." As an American citizen, we participate in the various benefits that our government affords. I drive on the road every day. That road is maintained by a government organization. Also, if someone commits a crime against me, I am afforded the services of a government organization (the police) to pursue a resolution to that crime and exact justice upon its perpetrator.

The only way to be removed from my obligations to this social contract is to not participate in the benefits it affords. As one who is bound by this contract (the Constitution), I must acknowledge and submit myself to the authorities that contract identifies. To do so would be a violation of my ethical obligations to the social contract.

==Contention 2 - Consent of the Governed==
One may make the argument that the Supreme Court does not have the Consent of the Governed, because they are not elected officials. However, this would be a flawed view of reality. While it is true that they are not elected directly, this does not mean that they are not derived from the people. In the US system of Judicial appointment, a Supreme Court Justice is appointed by the President. However, before that appointment becomes official, it must be confirmed by the Senate. Once confirmed the Justice is seated and becomes an official member of the Supreme Court. [3] Both the President, and the Senate are elected officials and serve as representatives for the persons who elected them. They are given the Consent of the Governed and therefore are given the authority to perform this act by the Social Contract. In addition, a Justice who is shown to be negligent or criminal in their duties can be removed by the Senate via Impeachment.

==Contention 3 - Appeal to Legitimate Authority==
There is a common logical fallacy that occurs in debates. It is called the Appeal or Argument to False Authority. Essentially during the course of an argument, the debater argues that some figure believes that something is true. This figure appears to be an authority, and is therefore worthy of weight in the discussion. This is a fallacy only when the figure is not an authority. An example of this would be Professional Athletes endorsing products unrelated to their sport. What does Michael Jordan know about Cologne? However, the reason that this fallacy works is that an appeal to a legitimate authority does indeed hold weight. If we were debating the best kind of shoes for playing basketball, Michael Jordan would indeed be a legitimate authority.

I have shown through these three contentions that we are bound by a social contract (The Constitution) to obey the authorities given power by said contract. These authorities are, broadly defined, the Executive (President), the Legislative (Congress) , and the Judicial (Courts, specifically in this debate, The Supreme Court). Through means of the Executive and Legislative branches appointment and confirmation of the Judicial Appointments we have given the Supreme Court the Consent of the Governed, and therefore have given them authority to make decisions involving the constitutionality of laws. Since authority is a legitimate appeal in a debate or discussion when the authority is legitimate, this legitimate authority over constitutionality is a legitimate appeal.

My opponent's contentions all hover around one primary point. To summarize, the Supreme Court is not reliable or effective.

Contention 1 - Biased
Contention 2 - Self-Contradictory
Contention 3 - Does not invoke the document they purport to serve

While these contentions may or may not be true. They do not in any way assuage us of our obligation to the social contract of the Constitution. In that social contract we have given the Supreme Court the authority to judge things as constitutional or unconstitutional, and that authority is supreme. In order to prove that the appeal to authority that occurs when we cite a Supreme Court ruling regarding constitutionality is a false appeal, my opponent would have to show that this authority is false. The authority that they are given by us is not based on their reliability or effectiveness, it is based on the fact that we have given them that authority. Our constitution even provides a way for us to remove that authority from them, so until we have done so... we must acknowledge their authority.

Debate Round No. 2


Thank you, ReformedArsenal, for your response.

Contention 0+: Social Contract theory

While the Social Contract theory sounds good at first, I must point out that it is only a theory, a mere notion. It is not grounded in fact, but philosophical opinion. Philosophical opinion does not change what apiece of paperdoes and does not allow.

We must also note the dichotomy of my opponent'ssourced definition. The social contractcan instead be"an agreement by the governed on a set of rules by which they are governed." This would sound most like the formation of the United States of America, with thirteen previously independent countries establishing a federation among themselves, with its own federal government given specifically enumerated powers in the Constitution [2:2][1]. The individual states retianed their sovereignty, so we cannot use the first definition.

Contention 1+: Obligation to the Constitution

My opponent points out numerous actions of government; however, these actions were not delegated to the federal government by the Consitution, so they shouldn't be the concern of the Supreme Court at all. They are rights reserved to the states, with a different type of social contract.

He then claims that he is bound by the Constitution, and must therefore respect the Consitution's authorities. However, by extension, the Supreme Court should also have to follow the rules stated in the Consitution; they have failed in almost every way imaginable. They swear that they will uphold the Constitution, yet they repeatedly do not. By disobeying the social contract, they lose whatever power was invested into them. How can they possibly be a reliable source?

Contention 2+: Consent of the Governed

The Supreme Court has "consent of the governed" in only the most indirect and twisted ties. As more and more indirectness is applied, the less government is working for the people and the more it is working for itself. Will the President appoint a judgewho will listen to the Consitution and stop his economic and political agendas? Would the Senate? Nope. That's what happened in FDR's case, as he threatened to pack the Supreme Court with additional justices who would swear allegiance to him rather than America; the court quickly buckled to Roosevelt's whims [2.1]. Did the people consent to this? Not at all.

My opponent also points out that Justices can be impeached by the Senate. For one thing, this runs into the problem described above, as pro-government justices will be systematically favored over pro-people justices. For another, removing Justices died early in America's history with Samuel Chase [2], who was impeached for disobeying the Constitution, but escaped removal because his lawyer redefined "high crimes and misdemeanors" to no longer apply to Chase [2.1]. No Justice has been impeached since, no matter how outlandish their claims or rulings are. The people have lost power over the Supreme Court, and as such, the Supreme Court ought to have lost power over the people.

Contention 3+: Appeal to Legitimate Authority

My opponent seems to imply that Supreme Court justices are legitimate authorities on the Constitution. This seems odd, as they get the facts wrong so many times, and contradict themselves with just about every ruling they make. How legitimate can they really be if they fail so badly? They're illegitimate and unreliable.

Conclusion +: Ergo...

We may have given the Supreme Court our consent, but it was a very limited consent described in the Constitution, under Article III, Section 2. The Supreme Court was never given the power to review the constitutionality of state laws, a power that it rather quickly stole from the American people without their consent [2.1]. They lack the authority to ban state laws regarding religion, abortion, schools, or any other specifically state issue, which consists of practically all of the Supreme Court cases in the past century.

Furthermore, it doesn't matter what power the Supreme Court was vested with by the Constitution if they get the Constitution wrong, as I have explained in three powerful contentions that my opponent has completely dropped. They cannot change the Constitution, written in iron pen, nor do they change the state laws. They make their flawed rulings using smoke-and-mirror tactics, ignoring the Constitution completely. They are, by any reasonable standards, illegitimate as a source for the constitutionality of a given law, given their record of being the most self-centered, contradictory, and flat-out wrong group of people in the history of the world.

To conclude, in a debate, if someone cites the Supreme Court as an explanation as to why a certian act isn't allowed by the Constitution, they're basically saying that five out of nine people in black robes who contradict themselves and can't even keep their facts straight agrees with him, almost never having any actual accuracy at all, which in no sane world would actually improve their case.

Good luck, ReformedArsenal.

(2.1 refers to Round 2, Source 1)


Thank you Con for such a well formulated argument. I appreciate the fact that you have clearly avoided any logical fallacies and have done your work to keep this a clean and upstanding debate. Kudos!

Response = Social Contract Theory

My opponent claims that this is just a theory, or a theoretical and philosophical opinion. However, all of our laws are based on the exercise of this ethical framework. What binds us to a law other than our agreement to either A) Obey it because of our duty as participants in the society that created it or B) fear of retribution based on the penalties for the violation that are agreed upon by the society that created it. To say that social contract theory is simply a theory and does not exist is to deny the fact that every US Citizen is currently participating in the contract of the constitution. Without acknowledging the Constitution as a social contract, it is simply a piece of paper with words on it. The very fact that we are bound by it proves that this is more than a theory, and applies to real life.

Beyond that, even if you go by the aspect of the definition that CON has posted, the contract has placed all Judicial Authority in the United States of America under the authority of that Supreme Court. Article III, section 1 of the US Constitution states "The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." [1] In fact, the Supreme Court is the only court that is actually mandated by the Constitution... and that very contract vests the judicial power into that court. We can argue about if they do their job correctly, but we cannot argue that they do not have authority over the constitution.

Furthermore section 2 of Article III gives this Supreme Court Jurisdiction over "all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority." [1] To say that the Constitution does not grant them authority, is to ignore section III.

Response = Obligation to the Constitution

Our obligation does not mean that we are obligated to the branches that carry out the actions only. Our obligation is to the contract that creates those various powers. Do you exercise freedom of religion, speech, the press, or other freedoms allotted in the Constitution? Obviously you do, this very debate proves that you have the freedom to dissent. You are obligated to respect all articles of the US Constitution due to the fact that you participate in the benefits. This includes Article III which creates, and gives authority to the US Supreme Court as I have mentioned above.

As a matter of side note, and fact clarity. The oath that Supreme Court Justices swear does not bind them to uphold the Constitution. The Oath they swear is ""I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God." [2] It is implied that they will, but they do not formally swear to do so. Beyond that, them not upholding their portion of the social contract does not absolve your obligation to do so. If you speed, you are not upholding your portion of the contract, yet I am not free of my obligation not to steal your things or hurt you.

Response = Consent of the Governed

The fact that consent is indirect, does not mean it is not consent. Our laws and constitution are set up in such a way where we give the President and Congress the authority to decide for us. If those representatives are not fulfilling their duties, we have the power to remove them. If they are not picking judges who are fulfilling their obligations, we should impeach both the members of Executive and Legislative branches, as well as the Judicial Branch members. However, simply not acknowledging their authority is not an option to those participating in the benefits of the social contract.

FDR's case was unique, and his threat was rather hollow. The President does not have the authority to add to the number of Supreme Court Justices, that power lies with the Congress. Also, the President would need to have his appointments confirmed by Congress. If "the people" were disatisfied with FDR's behavior, or the behavior of Congress if they succumbed and increased the number of justices... they have two options. No longer participate in the benefits of the social contract (and therefore remove their obligation to it), or use the power afforded to them by that social contract to remove said people from office. Beyond that, we have given our consent to be governed, if someone abuses that consent... they still have consent.

Response = Appeal to Legitimate Authority

My opponent believes he has proven that the Authority of the Supreme Court is invalid, and therefore the appeal to authority that he is challenging becomes a logical fallacy. However, as I have outlined above, the fact that they are inept at their jobs does not remove our obligation to the CONSTITUTION. That Constitution affords them the authority, so unless my opponent can prove that our obligation to the Constitution is nullified, we must still respect the authority that it affords to the Supreme Court, both in debate and in practice.


I will afford my opponent one thing. The Constitution itself does not explicitly grant the Supreme Court the power of Judicial Review, which is the process we are talking about. However, one of our Founding Fathers and the 1st Secretary of Treasury believed that this power should be vested in the Judicial Branch. He writes in The Federalist Papers: Number 78 "The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution, is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body."[3]

The constitution affords the Supreme Court Original Jurisdiction in cases of Ambassadors and Maritime Trials, as well as in cases where a state is a party [1] and appellate jurisdiction in all other cases. In order to prove that a given court decision was not constitutional he would have to prove that the case either A) Did not fall under their original jurisdiction or B) did not follow the process of appeals if not under original jurisdiction. If a decision was cited in a debate that was heard by the Supreme Court under their original jurisdiction or follow the chain of appeals... THAT particular citation would be an appeal to false authority (and the debater would need to do their work to prove that in the given debate). However, if the case did fall under their original jurisdiction or followed the process of appeals... the Supreme Court is a legitimate authority on that case.


To conclude, My opponent has failed to prove that we are not obligated to obey the social contract of the Constitution, nor has he proven that the Supreme Court is not a legitimate authority in Legal Cases, UNLESS they do not fall under their original jurisdiction or follow the process of appeals. Until he can prove either of those points, I urge you to follow logic and vote Pro in this debate.

Debate Round No. 3


Thank you, ReformedArsenal, for your argument. This is the last round, so Ihope that you don't make any brand-new arguments in response to this one.

Contention 0+ : Social Contract Theory

Just because our laws are based off of the Social Contract theory, doesn't mean that the Social Contract theory is true. I feel a slight sense of duty to my local government, and slightly less duty to my state government, and no duty at all to Washington, so I'm obviously not required to obey the Supreme Court by duty. A rule based on fear can't be a just rule. My opponent claims that the theory is true because we are participating in it, but we are only truly participating in it if it is true, making for a nice bit of circular reasoning. He claims that we are bound by the Constitution, but I'm not actually bound by it, and the federal government most certainly isn't, as it's been ignoring the Constitution for centuries [1], so this isn't evidence for the theory either.

The Supreme Court was given authority by the Constitution, but not authority over the Constitution. Notice how "United States" is capitalized, meaning the federal government as opposed to the entire federation itself. The Supreme Court deals with the federal government's matters, but not matters of individual sattes.

Section 2 of Article III specifically lists the Supreme Court's jurisdiction [2], which excludes cases between entities of the same state, which actually comprises most of the Supreme Court's modern cases.

Contention 1+: Obligation to the Constitution

My opponent claims that I have an obligation to the Constitution because I enjoy it's benefits. However, how does one not enjoy the benefit of free speech? It's impossible. An inescapable benefit, as most of these benefits are, cannot be a sane justification for a government's rule. Just because it won't kill me for speaking my mind doesn't mean it can regulate me in every other action of my life. One of the most important American principles is that rights are derived not from government, but from God or nature; acknowledging this freedom is the neutral state of things, and is not a "benefit" graciously given to me by the federal government.

My opponent continues that I have an obligation to uphold the social contract, yet I must have the freedom to absolve the contract voluntarily for it to continually have my consent, and I have never given my consent, ever, in my entire life.

Contention 2+: Consent of the Governed

My opponent claims that we have the power to remove officials from government, but I can't vote. If I could vote, I would vote against any administration that enforced the Constitution in the way the Supreme Court does, expressing my dissent and giving no consent to their actions. Ironically, my opponent would probably claim that by voting, I give my consent, even if I vote against the winning government, and that if I don't vote, I'm not fighting to change government, and therefore don't get to changeg government. It's quite the trauma twofer.

My opponent calls FDR's case "unique," but doesn't explain how. FDR, did, in fact, have the ability to pack the courts, because Congress was controlled by his party, and would obey his every beck and call if he asked for it. My opponent claims that the people can stop participating in the benefits of the social contract (impossible in modern society, where government controls practically everything around me, especially if excersizing my right to breathe is considered a "benefit"), so if I follow this to the furthest extend possible, I can nullify my obligations to the Supreme Court's authority and point out how unreliable they really are. Although, why do I have to even be independent of the federal government to disagree with them in the first place? Isn't this a free country? Just because the Supreme Court says that something is true, and that a considerable portion of the government agrees with them, doesn't mean that it is true.

Contention 3+: Appeal to Legitimate Authority

My opponent again cites an obligation to the Constitution, but I contend that this obligation is a nonexistant illusion imposed upon us by government. I have no obligation to any government.

He also claims that I must respect the Supreme Court's authority even in debate, but why is this? They have no jurisdiction over this debate at all. If I can dissent from them, then I have proven the ability to do so.


My opponent uses an anonymous quote to justify judicial review, so I shall counter with a quote by Thomas Jefferson that shatters the idea that the Supreme Court is the end-all of the Constitution [3]:
"Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government . . . . and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force. . . . that the government created by this compact [the Constitution for the United States] was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; . . . . that this would be to surrender the form of government we have chosen, and live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from our authority; . . . and that the co-States, recurring to their natural right in cases not made federal, will concur in declaring these acts void, and of no force, and will each take measures of its own for providing that neither these acts, nor any others of the General Government not plainly and intentionally authorised by the Constitution, shall be exercised within their respective territories."
He logically points out that the federal government cannot be trusted to limit its own power, and that this power is inherent in the people of the states. We have no obligation to blindly listen to the Supreme Court as if their word is the word of God. They are not right just because they say they are right. Without an explanation for their decisions, they're nothing.

My opponent claims that it would be up to the refuter to explain that a ruling wasn't within the Court's jurisdiction. However, given that most cases are actually outside their jurisdiction (especially landmark cases like Roe vs. Wade, Brown, Miranda vs. Arizona, and Tinker vs. Des Moines, and all cases that I have already cited in this debate except Fletcher), it should the one who sources the Supreme Court to explain why, for once, they actually obeyed their own jurisdiction.


My opponent says that I have failed to prove that the social contract is void, yet the burden should belong with him; he should show why the social contract is justified, which it is not. The Supreme Court may be sometimes a legitimate authority at times, but their inclination towards bias, contradiction, and epic failures in trying to understand history make them one of the most unreliable sources in the modern age, making their reasoning more important than their robes.

Thank you, ReformedArsenal, for this debate. You put up a considerable challenge for a first debate on this site. I think you'll do well here.

1. Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush by Thomas E. Woods and Kevin R. C. Gutzman


Thank you Pro, your responses are complete and challenging. I appreciate your candor and look forward to finding the will of the people in this matter.

Social Contract Theory

Again, my opponent has done nothing to prove that we are not obligated to obey and respect the Constitution... PROVIDED we participate in its benefits. I have free speech, freedom of religion, freedom assemble, freedom of the press, and every other freedom the Constitution affords me. Con seems to believe that these freedoms are undeniable... however he neglects to observe that governments all across the world deny those freedoms to people every day.

Furthermore, Con is right in that the US Supreme court does not have jurisdiction in matters of individual states. Unless those issues are appealed by persons within those states beyond the state level. Con has asserted that MOST cases heard by the Supreme Court are in regards to entities of the same state... yet has failed to provide any proof of this statistic, and therefore failed to meet the burden of proof for submitting new evidence into the debate.

Obligation to the Constitution

My opponent seeks to argue that it is impossible not to enjoy the benefit of free speech. "It's impossible." However, I would argue that my opponent would have a different perspective if he did not live in a nation that afforded such benefits. Persons in China, Afghanistan, and other oppressive regimes do not have such a freedom. My opponent attempts to defeat me by building a straw-man argument. He writes "Just because it won't kill me [...] doesn't mean it can regulate me in in every other action of my life." This is not what I am arguing at all, the fact that they cannot regulate us in every other action of our lives is actually a freedom guaranteed to us by the very Constitution he seeks to undermine.

My opponent claims that he does not have the freedom to absolve the contract, and that this freedom is required for it to have his consent. He also claims that he has never given consent. This could not be a more blatantly false argument. The fact is that there are several ways to absolve oneself of this contract, should they wish to no longer participate. A) Move to Canda. "Immigrating to Canada permanently is an exciting opportunity."[1] They are currently accepting Visa applications. They have national healthcare, much cleaner air, lower violent crime rates, and say "eh" instead of just about everything. or B) Die. I know this seems like a harsh option, but it is something that America was founded upon. The founding fathers believed they were under an unfair social contract, so they fought against it. Many of them died, but ultimately they removed themselves from the social contract they were under and forged a new social contract. I write this to you from the great state of New Hampshire where the motto is "Live Free... or Die." Another great man said it this way "Give me liberty, or give me death!"[2] Our founding fathers believed that they could change the social contract, and they did.

Con... you have given consent. You participate. You speak freely, you either go to or went to schools paid for and maintained as part of the social contract, your freedom is defended daily by military forces created by that social contract, you drive or are driven on roads that are in place because of the social contract. There are innumerable freedoms and services you take advantage of that are given to you by the government's participation in this social contract.

Consent of the Governed

My opponent seems to believe that he is representative of the majority of the country. You are right, I would argue that if you vote you are participating in the social contract, also... not voting is a luxury afforded to you by the social contract as well.

FDR's case was unique by the definition of the word unique. It has never happened again in US history, making it a unique event. Beyond that, my opponent again has asserted a fact and not provided any proof or evidence for that fact. When did FDR say he would pack the courts? Prove that Congress would have supported it. Prove that the Courts succumbed because of it. That is the key to debates... Prove it.

You can disagree with the Supreme Court's authority all you want. However, you cannot disagree with the fact that they have been given authority, by the Constitution, to make the kinds of decision you are referring to.

Appeal to Legitimate Authority

My opponent has done nothing to prove that the Social Contract of the Constitution is a binding social contract, except say "no it isn't." When an Ostrich puts its head in the sand, the world does not cease to exist... simply saying "no it isn't" does not function any differently. The Constitution is a document we are bound to, it affords us all of the freedoms we hold so dear. To deny the authority of the Constitution is to open the flood gates for the removal of every one of those freedoms. That Constitution gives the US Supreme Court the authority to judge the Constitutionality of a Law, provided that the case is under their original jurisdiction or is appealed through the appeal process.


My apologies for not being more explicit in my citation. The name of the author is listed at the very top of the source cited... I guess my opponent did not look at my resources. The Author was Alexander Hamilton, first US Secretary of the Treasury.

My opponent also claims that MOST cases are outside their jurisdiction and cites several so-called "Landmark cases." To respond and bring clarity. Roe vs. Wade was within their jurisdiction. It started in Dallas, TX as a lawsuit against the state. The state held that it was correct, and Roe appealed it up to the US Supreme Court. Miranda vs. Arizona was also started in a State, and appealed. Tinker vs. Des Moines... also in a state and appealed. Article III, which has been cited so many times, states that the US Supreme Court has jurisdiction in cases involving more than one state, with ambassadors and consules, in maritime issues, and also in cases which are appealed. This is pretty clear, all of these cases have been within their jurisdiction as they were appeal cases. Again, my opponent makes a statement without proving it... and in attempting to prove it, makes false statements.

To conclude... this seems like a pretty clear case. My opponent has failed to show that the US Supreme Court is not a legitimate authority in cases that fall within their Jurisdiction. If they are indeed a legitimate authority, as I have shown them to be, then we can appeal to their authority as evidence in debate.

Thank you again for the rigorous debate, and thank you to the readers for their participation as well. I urge you to vote Pro in this debate.

[1]Citizen and Immigration Canada -
Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
Actually, ASB, that would be a valid interpretation of the Ninth Amendment, which guarantees all of our rights. One recognized right of Englishmen (and by extension Americans) was the right to bear arms. The right to bear arms was one of the rights protected by the Ninth Amendment, but it was so important that it also got its own amendment, the Second Amendment.

Also, the Second Amendment does not say that as long as there are militias, we have the right to bear arms. It says that because militias are necessary to our security, we have the right to bear arms. It doesn't matter what the government thinks about the necessity of a militia.

From what you say, Scalia actually sounds like a relatively competent Supreme Court justice.
Posted by ASB 7 years ago
Im surprised that Justice Scalia's ruling on gun control is not in here.
Scalia said that gun control should be legalized for protection, because in ENGLAND, before migrating to the US had the right to do so as well. Basically he says that we should adopt rules from our places of origin.

I guess I should chuck spears as well. Automatic rifles should be used for protection.
The second amendment as interpreted by a normal person states that "for a better militia, we have the right to bear arms"

There is no need for a militia so there is no need to bear arms. It is that simple.

There are two types of interpretations of the Constitution, there is the implied and un-implied interpretations.
Scalia is an un-implied interpreter, he basically tries to guess what the founding father's were thinking(as if one could factually guess what people were thinking back then) and then fill in the gaps for them.
They debated these rules for days... years even... how can they miss anything that fundamental. The second amendment is a fundamental right that should not be twisted in any way. It is how it is. If it does not say that guns should be used for protection, then it should not be. That case should not have precedence because of idiots like Scalia.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 7 years ago
The specific process is not mentioned, it simply says that they have final authority in all appealed cases.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
Of course, the Court was never actually delegated the power to claim such power in the Constitution in the first place, so by the Tenth Amendment, you'd think that power would go to the states.

Is the appeals process to get to the Supreme Court ever mentioned in the Constitution?
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
The Judiciary is described in Article III, Sections 1-3. There is nothing saying that the Supreme Court is the ultimate authority on the Constitution. The Court claimed that power in 1803.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
Zab, the Supreme Court isn't even mentioned in Article IV.

Roy, thank you.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
@mongeese, Sorry. I have corrected the mistake.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 7 years ago

Article IV is about how States interact with each other, and has nothing to do with the Supreme Court.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
Actually, you ended up giving me Conduct instead of Sources.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
The Supreme Court is clearly an authority on the Constitution. They have all the credentials on the subject. Hence their opinion is expert. I think that means that their opinion stands unless it is logically contested. It might be contested by the debaters arguments or by citing another authority. In debates, it's common to cite a dissenting opinion of one of the Justices, being sure to call it a "vigorous dissent." Note that actually very few of the Court decisions are 5-4. Most cases end up 6-3 or better, indicating that they do have some common expertise.

I think the debate was very close. The Supreme Court is a reliable source, but not an ultimately definitive source. That was established by the Court reversals. I'll give sources to Con and arguments to Pro.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Udel 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con says the supreme court is biased, contradicts itself, and does not do a good job at upholding the constitution. Pro says the supreme court has the right to govern the way it does, but does not contest Con's point that the supreme court is not good at its job. Con says it doesnt matter if the social contract (whcih is just a theory) is accepted if the supreme court does not uphold the constitution which is a legally acceptable theory our govt is founded on. Pro says the supreme court takes an oath to the constitution but Con argues that the supreme court fails to uphold it and its contradictions in ruling make it flawed, nevermind the bias which Pro exlains is to be expected under the system. Con proves that the supreme court might be morally justfiable according to our gvt standards however proves to be unreliable, so his posiiton is upheld.
Vote Placed by jm_notguilty 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter Votebomb to SkepticsAskHere, since there is no person named Jar who voted (anymore, atleast).
Vote Placed by SkepticsAskHere 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Anti Vote Bombing. Jar's profile needs to be deleted
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Evaninmontana 7 years ago
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