(CBS) — President Obama made his choice for the next Supreme Court justice. His pick is a familiar face in the northern suburbs.
Judge Merrick Garland was overcome with emotion over his nomination to sit on the high court.READ MORE: Police Warn Of Retail Thefts in Gold Coast
Garland grew up in north suburban Lincolnwood. He graduated from Lincoln Hall Middle School and Niles West High School.
When he was 18, he was a Presidential Scholar and traveled to the White House to listen to an address by President Nixon in the East Room.
He then went on to Harvard where he was named the valedictorian of his class.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole spent the day talking with those who know Garland well.
That the highly accomplished judge Merrick Garland choked back tears at his nomination came as no surprise to those who grew up with him at Niles West High School where he was known for both his intellect and kindness
“Merrick was destined for great things and this is just the culmination of that,” said classmate Randy Felsenthal.
A defining moment came just before his high school graduation address, when parents pulled the plug on the speaker before him who criticized the Vietnam War.
“Merrick then gave a talk about the right to speech and it was just a calming effect on the audience,” Felsenthal said.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov spoke with Chicago area attorney Gregg Schneider, who grew up with Garland. Schneider attended grade school alongside him and calls the Supreme Court nominee a “class guy.”
“I used to always look back and see how he did and compare myself to him and it was kind of fun to do but I knew back then this is one smart guy,” Schneider said.READ MORE: Police Surround Apartment Of Barricaded Subject In Villa Park
They both went to Niles West High School, even hitting the road together post-college for a two-week camping trip to Yellowstone National Park.
“He’s the kind of guy, you figure he is going to do some good things because he’s just got a lot of tremendous qualities to him,” he said.
Former federal judge and U.S. Representative Abner Mikva met Garland when he was just 17 and volunteered for his congressional campaign.
“He is so thoughtful and he doesn’t try to push his own agenda,” Mikva said.
Their friendship has remained constant, with careers crossing consistently in Washington. D.C.
“He is a public man he bleeds public service,” Mikva said.
Mikva was not surprised Garland left a lucrative private practice to work as a federal prosecutor. Known for a calm tolerant courtroom, he calls Garland a perfect judge.
“That’s the part that impresses me most is that he so respects and loves the institutions that make up our country,” Mikva said.
When Mikva left the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. to serve in the White House, Garland eventually replaced him, part of the ties that bind them.MORE NEWS: Missing Bensenville Dog Reunited With Owners
In spite of Republican opposition Mikva hopes the senate will come around to a confirmation hearing.