NBC legal correspondent Pete Williams broke the news about the historic Supreme Court decision on gay marriage on Wednesday within minutes after justices issued their ruling, thanks to one intern’s fast and fancy footwork.
Dan Stein, an intern for the organization SCOTUSblog, an NBC partner, used his speed and agility to maneuver through the spectators and media gathered outside the Supreme Court steps, where Williams waited for him to deliver a paper copy of the high court's decision.
Earlier in the week, Stein's running skills were caught on video, in a six-second Vine clip that shows him racing to Williams through the crowd on Monday to deliver an earlier decision.
That clip, filmed by 21-year-old Daniel Wein, started to develop a wide following on Wednesday, capturing what Wein likes to call the “intern foot race” as they rushed deliver this week’s rulings to journalists.
Wein, a political junkie senior at George Washington University, had been waiting for the decisions along with everyone else outside the steps. His clip captures the fleet-footed runner delivering the court’s ruling on affirmative action, but Wein said he doubts Stein actually knew that at the time.
“I think he was just trying to get the opinion out as soon as possible. It’s quite obvious that by the speed that everyone is going, they’re not very familiar with what’s in the document,” Wein said. “They just know they need to get it to their network as soon as possible.”
In the brief clip, a man’s voice can be heard off camera telling people to make way for the intern running into view.
“Let him through, let him through,” the man says, while waving over the intern, who hands over the Supreme Court decision for Williams. The rest is television news history.
For the past two days, Wein has parked himself in front of Williams, of whom he is a fan, hoping to catch decisions on two specific cases, both related to same-sex relationships: The Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.
He did the same thing last year when the Supreme Court ruled on the monumental health care act.
“It’s a very unique opportunity that being in Washington, D.C. provides you with, and it’s the reason why I decided to go to school here, and why I want to stay here for a certain amount of time afterward,” he said.
But because Wein already has health insurance, last year’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act didn’t have the same personal impact that Wednesday's rulings did. As a young gay male, he felt a vested interest in what the Supreme Court justices would say about DOMA and Proposition 8.
“It’s not very often there’s a case at the Supreme Court that personally affects my life, and also my friend’s lives,” he said.
He said he waited for Wednesday’s “foot race of interns” with emotionally charged anticipation.
“When I saw the interns bolting out, tears welled up in my eyes, because I didn’t know what was in there at that moment,” he said. “It was just very surreal.”
Stein did not immediately respond to TODAY.com's request for comment.