Debate, * legislation, practice. A contestation between two or more persons, in which they take different sides of a question, and maintain them, respectively, by facts and arguments; or it is a discussion, in writing, of some contested point.

2. The debate should be conducted with fairness, candor and decorum, and supported by facts and arguments founded in reason; when, in addition, it is ornamented by learning, and decorated by the powers of rhetoric, it becomes eloquent and persuasive. It is essential that the power of debate should be free, in order to an energetic discharge of his duty by the debator.

3. The Constitution of the United States, art. 1, s. 6, provides, that for any speech or debate, in either bouse, the senators and representatives shall not be questioned in any other place.

4. It is a rule of the common law, that counsel may, in, the discharge of professional duty, use strong epithets, however derogatory to the character of the opponent, or his attorney, or other agent or witness, in commenting on the facts of the case, if pertinent to the cause, and stated in his instructions, without any liability to any action for the supposed slander, whether the thing stated were true or false. 1 B. & Ald. 232; 3 Dow's R. 273, 277, 279; 7 Bing. R. 459; S. C. 20 E. C. L. R. 198. Respectable and sensible counsel, however, will always refrain from the indulgence of any unjust severity, both on their own personal account, and because browheating a witness, or other person, will injuriously affect their case in the eyes of a respectable court and jury. 3 Chit. Pr. 887, 8.

* From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition. Please see Bouvier's Legal Abbreviations & Abbreviated References for help with obscure nomenclature & references.

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