Only In America

An ex-cop, who goes to law school at night ends up arguing in front of the Supreme Court. For whatever reason I found this interview really affecting.

How’d you prepare?

I bought the book “The Nine” to learn about the judges, I profiled them all on Google, I read and listened to the hearing and transcript of a prior case on the prior child porn pandering statute. I read and briefed every case cited in all the briefs. I visited the Supreme Court and watched oral arguments in other cases. I then did several moots with other lawyers, including one at Sidley Austin in D.C., which helped immensely. Sidley did it for free, though it cost a few stone crabs from Joe’s. Two nights before, I took a three-hour night tour by myself through D.C. I wanted to take in the grandeur of the city and what it was that was at the core of what I was about to do.

Did you buy a special suit?

I went to my personal tailor in Coral Gables and bought a handmade Canali suit, custom-made white shirt and, after going through about 500 ties, I picked what I thought was the most spectacular tie for the occasion. It was a Ferragamo navy-blue tie with a hint of white and burgundy. It was smart-looking. (See picture of Diaz standing outside the Supreme Court just after the argument.)

Tell us about oral argument day.

When I walked into the courtroom I was feeling two things: pride and humility. It was very humbling to realize what was about to happen. When I got there I opened up my outline and started looking at it but realized if I didn’t know something by then I wasn’t going to learn it in the next thirty minutes. So I closed it and watched the clock wind down. At two minutes before ten, I closed my eyes and tried to communicate with my deceased parents and, as ridiculous as this may sound, I heard my father tell me, “Remember who you are.” And then the judges took the bench.

Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC.

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