Study Guides for Past & Future Topics

Federal Transportation Study Guide

• For the NSDA federal education funding/regulation reform topic, federal surveillance of students is debated. This 8-page study guide pdf was for the 2015 surveillance topic: FedSurv-MCPP-SG2015sm

Federal Transportation Study Guide


Click here for 8-page pdf of federal transportation policy study guide: FedTransportReformSG

…Congress decided to build the interstates on a pay- as-you-go basis; that is, the roads would be built only as gas taxes were collected to pay for them. States were not allowed to borrow money to build the roads and pay back that money out of their share of federal gas taxes. This gave highway planners incentives to make sure that the interstates they built were, for the most part, needed by users who were willing to pay for them. [Then federal transportation policy shifted as gas taxes were diverted to other uses…]

Africa Public Health study guide pdf, relevant for 2017 NSDA Nationals Public Forum topic:

Resolved: In East Africa, the United States federal government should prioritize its counterterrorism efforts over its humanitarian assistance.  AfricaStudyGuideOct8


Ocean Policy Study Guide (pdf), for the next time you find yourself out to sea with an oceans debate topic (plus, relevant to current Stoa LD property rights/public needs topic. Property rights key to addressing overfishing and coastal fisheries mismanagement.) RehmkeOceanExDevStudyGuide


Liberty of Contract handout (pdf) for labor law topic (& past federal court system reform topic). FedCourts-LibertyContract. Blurb for Liberty of Contract, by Ronald Rotunda notes:

As students of constitutional history know, the Lochner era (1897-1937) is typically vilified as a time when judges imposed their personal opinions to invalidate laws that regulated the economy. Professor Mayer offers a far more complex and nuanced view of that era as a time with judges often, but not always, invoked a presumption of liberty. He shows that Lochner-era justices protected not only economic but personal rights as well, such as the right of parents to teach their children in a foreign language or to send their children to a private school, whereas anti-Lochner justices like Oliver Wendell Holmes rejected such a presumption. 

• Related: Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court (pdf handout) FedCourts-Overruled

… the aggressive legal approach once associated with Justice Field and his successors has come roaring back to life in the early twenty-first century. Its modern followers have no patience with judicial restraint and little use for majority rule. They want the courts to police the other branches of government striking down any state or federal law that infringes on the broad constitutional vision of personal and economic freedom, an approach that has been dubbed “principled judicial activism.” (p. 7)