Model Congress: Instructions for Judges

  • Instructions to Student Congress Judges

    I. Structure:

        A.  Two sessions of equal length (usually 1 1/2 hours each) sometimes followed by a final


        B. Turn in ballot after each session

    II. Order of session:

        A. Students choose a Presiding Officer or "P.O." who runs the session

        B. Students set the agenda (order of the bills and resolutions to be debated)

        C. The first speaker to present a bill gives the Authorship Speech, which lasts no more than

            three minutes.  This is followed by a mandatory two-minute questioning period.

        D. The Presiding Officer then calls on those wishing to speak against the bill, for the bill,

            against the bill, etc. in an alternating fashion.

             NOTE: If no one wants to debate on a particular side (i.e. for or against the bill), someone

             should Call the Question, and the Chamber should vote.  Students should not continue

             to debate on just one side of the issue. 

        E. All speeches are three minutes maximum.  If time remains after a speaker has finished,

           questions may be asked of the speaker (in addition to the mandatory 2 minute questioning

           period per speaker).  The Presiding Officer determines who is to ask a question.

    This process is continued until time runs out or all of the bills/resolutions are disposed of.

    III. Judging

    A.  This is primarily a DEBATE.  Thus, you should judge on how ell each speaker debates

         (i.e. clashes) with the issues that have been presented.  It stands to reason that the only

         speaker to have prepared a speech is the one giving the authorship speech.  If any other

         student reads a prepared speech, he/she cannot be clashing with what has been said

         before (except by chance) and should be penalized.

    B.  This is also a Congress.  Thus, the speakers should show proper decorum.  Furthermore,

         they should abide by the rules of Parliamentary Procedure.  You should include these

         points in your judgment.

    C.  Finally, if a congressperson raises INTELLIGENT points of order, asks intelligent questions,

         etc., these should be counted in his/her favor.

    D.  Determine the best ten Congresspeople for the session and list them in rank order on the

         ballot (1st being the best).  If a Congressperson from your school is in your chamber,

         do not rank that person.  Do not forget to consider the Presiding Officer in your rankings. 

    E.  The Presiding Officer should be impartial, give each congressperson a fair chance to speak,

         be able to control the chamber, & have a working knowledge of parliamentary procedure.

    Judges should rarely speak.  If there is a real problem, one judge should say something to the

    presiding officer, who then should remedy the problem. 

    Note: Amendments do NOT guarantee an authorship speech.   Also, 1/3, majority, 2/3 depends on

    the number ACTUALLY VOTING (abstention is NOT considered a vote).