Donald Trump nominated federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia's replacement on the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, passing over Merrick Garland, a graduate of Niles West High School in Skokie and former President Barack Obama's pick.
Garland returned weeks ago to his position as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Garland hadn't been hearing cases since March 2016 when he was nominated by Obama to replace Scalia, who died last February.
But Republicans refused to hold hearings on the appointment, saying it was up to the president who would take office 10 months later to fill the post.
Garland was supported both by Republican former U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Highland Park, who broke with his party over the appointment, and by Kirk's successor, Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates.
In nominating him, Obama highlighted Garland's role supervising the investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the prosecution of American Timothy McVeigh for the terrorist attack.
Garland spoke in May at Niles West's graduation, telling students some of his closest friends today were high school classmates and urging them to maintain their connections to community, family and friends. He called on them to devote themselves to public service, saying his most rewarding experiences have been tutoring students at a Washington, D.C. elementary school.
"When you are facing the unanticipated twists and turns that life will surely take, when the bad things happen, it can be a tremendous solace to get outside of yourself and focus on someone else," he told the audience.