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.


Join Chris’s email list.