Despite the ongoing senatorial struggle over his confirmation, Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland spent his Memorial Day weekend urging the next generation to take up public service, calling such a decision among "the most rewarding" the judge has had.
Garland was invited to his high school alma mater, Niles West High School, near Chicago over the weekend to deliver the commencement address to the class of 2016. During the speech, the 19-year veteran of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit made no mention of the political battle raging around his nomination, but rather, spoke to the trials life can bring after high school and the fulfillment brought on by a career helping others.
"Devote some part of your life to public service ... it does not matter what kind of public service you choose," said Garland, who graduated from Niles West in 1970. "At graduation I thought I was going to be a doctor. But after my college roommate ... finally let me know I really wasn't all that good at math, I shifted course and chose a career in law. Specifically a career devoting to building the kind of faith in rule of law that civil society depends on."
Garland continued that there were many avenues to make a difference in the world, pointing to his work tutoring students at an elementary school. He later quoted one of his "favorite people," Harry Potter protagonist Hermione Granger, noting the character's hope "to do some good in the world."
"But as Professor Dumbledore once told Harry Potter: It is our choices that show what we truly are, more than our abilities," Garland said. “So make the choice do to some good in the world."
President Obama nominated Garland to the nation's highest court back in March, but Senate Republicans have largely refused to even meet with the well-regarded judge, let alone hold a confirmation hearing. Bucking any form of precedent, GOP stalwarts have called on such a decision to be made after the presidential election despite concern from the likes of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Take a look at Garland's entire speech above.