As a law professor, I am often called into disputes over the original intent of the Framers — most recently in testimony over the recess appointment clause in the House Judiciary Committee. In the Florida House of Representatives, however, this dispute became particularly intense as Rep. Alan B. Williams and Speaker Dean Cannon disagreed on the specific words and intent behind that legal paragon Jay-Z:
Here is the exchange on an amendment to the Florida Evidence Code regarding allowing certain types of hearsay as evidence:
REP. ALAN B. WILLIAMS: I think one of the reasons why were supporting the amendment is because we got such a warm and fuzzy farewell from you to set the mood to support this amendment. To go even further, you think about a wise businessman. He even said he knows his rights. And Jay-Z…I think Jay-Z said it best and I’m going to quote for you. “I know my rights and you’re going to need a warrant for that.” And he even went further, “Aren’t you sharp as a tack, are you a lawyer or something?” Members, when you look at it, support this. If you support Jay-Z, support this amendment. Thank you.
SPEAKER DEAN CANNON: I must respectfully disagree with a correction, Rep. Williams. In the song, it was the officer who said, “Aren’t you sharp as a tack?” or something. “You should try for lawyer or something,” so I got you on that. It’s an unspoken rule, if you’re going to invoke Jay-Z, you must get the lyrics correct. I’m not sure Jay-Z would support this amendment.
It turns out that they were both incorrect in their quotation of Jay-Z:
(COP) Do you mind if I look round the car a little bit?
(JAY-Z) Well, my glove compartment is locked, so is the trunk in the back,
And I know my rights so you gonna need a warrant for that.
(COP) Aren’t you sharp as a tack? You some type of lawyer or something,
Somebody important or something?
To paraphrase Justice Thomas in
Let me put it this way; there are really only two ways to interpret [Jay-Z] — try to discern as best we can what the [Jay-Z] intended or make it up. No matter how ingenious, imaginative or artfully put, unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the [Jay-Z] , they have no more basis in the Constitution than the latest football scores. To be sure, even the most conscientious effort to adhere to the original intent of the [Jay-Z] is flawed, as all methodologies and human institutions are; but at least originalism has the advantage of being legitimate and, I might add, impartial.
Here is the original source for future historians and legislators:
Source: Free Beacon