While lawmakers continued to debate whether to hold a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, the judge himself spoke to a group of high schoolers about how to make the most of their futures.
Garland took the stage Sunday at the graduation ceremony for his alma mater, Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois, near Chicago. His 20-minute speech didn't focus much on politics but instead on his time at Niles West, the importance of public service and how to face the unknown after leaving high school, the Chicago Daily Herald reported.
Garland said, “We cannot anticipate the twists and turns that life will take, nor should we," WBBM reported. "Life would be pretty boring if you could plan it all out on graduation day."
Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., also gave a speech at Niles West's 1970s graduation — his own. This time around, he mentioned Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, elementary school tutoring sessions and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the Wall Street Journal reported. He also referenced "Harry Potter" character Hermione Granger's choice to become an activist rather than a lawyer, according to BuzzFeed.
“When the bad things happen, it can be a tremendous solace to get outside yourself. To focus on helping someone else,” Garland added. “So, instead of taking a selfie, turn the camera around — you know, the way we used to use cameras. You will have a more fulfilling life by turning your focus outwards. To helping others. That’s what public service is all about.”
President Barack Obama selected Garland to take the late Justice Antonin Scalia's spot on the Supreme Court in March. Many Republicans, however, have opposed the nomination, hoping to delay the process until a new president is elected in November, according to the Journal.
About 45 percent of survey respondents told CNN in March they had a positive opinion of Garland, with about 14 percent saying they had a negative one.
Vikram David Amar, dean of the University of Illinois College of Law, told the Chicago Tribune Garland's appearance Sunday at Niles West could help his image. "I think it's better for nominees to get out and show they are real people and not just a two-dimensional character," he said. "It's good when we hear their voice, see their face."
Watch the speech here.