With Lil Wayne's imprisonment this morning, and T.I. still behind bars, the two greatest rappers of a generation are currently incarcerated. That's pretty ridiculous, considering neither of them actually hurt anyone in any way.
Only one person has ever had a number one record while in prison -- Tupac -- which means we'll likely have to wait until T.I. gets out in August to hear a record on par with Paper Trail or Tha Carter III. Unless the ACLU gets involved.
You may be wondering: Whatchu know 'bout that?
I should note that I do have a law degree, and I am admitted to the bar in at least one jurisdiction (long story). I'm not sure we can get either rapper free. However, were I a memo draftin' man, these are some issues I'd have a clerk or intern exploring this morning.
1st Amendment "Freedom of Speech"
Now, it's obviously true that committing certain crimes allows for the temporary curtailing of certain Constitutional rights, so, for example, prisons can be run smoothly. However, I'd argue that the important political sentiments made by both Weezy and T.I. necessitate special consideration. For example, studio space in prison and work release to tour. Oh, and to do research for their next albums at their home or whatever club they choose.
1st Amendment "Freedom of Religion"
Lil Wayne is a noted religious leader, having spoken for Jesus in the past. He should be freed to avoid immediate and unavoidable harm to his congregation, which misses him dearly.
2nd Amendment Right To Keep and Bear Arms
Let's face facts: Both these gentlemen are currently incarcerated because of what some people believe is an unjustifiably narrow interpretation of the second amendment, which allows for the right to keep and bear arms to maintain a well-regulated militia. Certainly, given the array of weaponry Weezy has allegedly carried through his career, "militia" is the applicable terminology. How come those crusty old bastards at the NRA aren't rallying to these rappers defense? Oh, right, because they're black. Gotcha.
8th Amendment Prohibition Against Cruel And Unusual Punishment
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T.I. has actually made one of the most incredibly brilliant arguments for the unjust verdict against him in "Ready for Whatever." You should listen to the song, but know his argument, which is that he was in danger and, felony or no, he needed to protect himself by carrying a gun.
"They so judgmental, everyday they don't understand.
If your life was in jeopardy, everyday is you telling me,
you wouldn't need weaponry just because of your felony?
Consider this at least, I got everybody sweating me,
on the streets is people who won't rest unless I rest in peace.
Killed my folk a year ago, still in my sleep they threaten me...
Now is it that hard to understand if you listen?
Either die or go to jail, that's a hell of a decision.
But I'm wrong and I know that my excuses aren't important,
I'm just trying to let you know that I ain't think I had a choice.
Now, T.I. was not allowed to carry a gun because of his previous felony. Is the law disarming felons "cruel and unusual" puishment? I'd argue yes. Because, really, felons may need guns to protect themselves, or live every day in fear. That seems unreasonable. There are some policy considerations in favor or keeping felons disarmed (in general, it's a bad idea to let criminals have guns, obviously) but if they've served their time on the previous offense, and if they can show cause for their saftey concerns, shouldn't they be allowed to keep a weapon for self defense? Isn't denying them that cruel and unusual?
Preamble Purpose To "Promote The General Welfare"
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The preable of the U.S. Constitution states it's purpose clearly:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Certainly all intelligent people can agree that imprisoning both Weezy and T.I. at once does not, in any way, promote the "general welfare" of these United States. Also, two guys like this are definitely valuable for "the common defense" if the nation is attacked by a hostile power. Therefore, at least one should be immediately freed by our courts.
Barring that, maybe President Obama should get off his ass and do some pardoning.