Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Berman v. Bibas - On Online Debate

Debates are officially "in." This Thursday, George Bush will debate John Kerry at the University of Miami. Both sides claim that their opponents have never lost a debate. And as if that hyperbole wasn't sufficient, the Bush people are claiming that John Kerry is the best debater since Cicero. (If that isn't funny enough, I highly recommend this article entitled, "Late-Night Jokes About Bush, Kerry and the 2004 Presidential Debates.") So, this sets up a guaranteed fall for one of the candidates. The Vegas bookmakers must be utterly bored to death by that prospect.

If Presidential debates are not your thing, maybe a Blakely debate is more appealing. The Legal Affairs Debate Club has launched an online debate between Professors Doug Berman and Stephanos Bibas. The topic: Blakely, of course. More precisely, the question is, "Can the Court clean up its Blakely mess?" For those of you who don't know, Doug Berman is the best debater since John Kerry. Same goes for Prof. Bibas.

On a related note, college students across the country are currently debating a proposition which asks whether our nation's criminal law needs reform. Several students and coaches have written to me, asking how they could use the Blakely ruling as an argument in favor of reform (and how to respond to it). Professors Bibas and Berman's exchange should be a useful resource for college debaters looking for an angle.

All this debate talk has stirred a bit of nostalgia for me. I debated for 4 years in high school and 4 years in college. After finishing my degree at the University of Michigan, I coached college debate at Michigan for 3 years. I nearly made it my career. Instead, I've made this blog my career. You win some, you lose some.



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