Longtime Judge Is Calling It Quits







The phone was ringing on my desk three decades ago. It was Anthony “Tony G.” Gargiulo on the line.  

I took his call because Tony G was a magical political consultant and always had news. And I was a Sun-Sentinel columnist always hungry for news.  

Tony G said something like: “I got this fabulous kid who’s running for judge.”

That kid was Louis Schiff, who was not really a kid but 41 at the time. Tony G’s call was the first I heard of Schiff although he already had been in private practice in Tamarac for 15 years and was an activist in northwest Broward. 

Like most of Tony G’s judicial candidates, Schiff won that 1996 election. Unopposed. 

Schiff announced Thursday he will not run for reelection next year for his longtime seat on the Broward County Court.



Lou Schiff, who is a passionate baseball fan, in his office



Unlike many who stay on the bench too long,  Schiff, 68, is leaving on his own terms.  He says he is not scared of running for reelection next year.

With his senior years creeping up, Schiff has things other then being a judge that he wants to do.

He wants to spend more time with his wife. He wants more time to travel. More time to golf. More time to see his beloved Marlins play.  And more time to work on a book.  

Serving on the court “has been the greatest honor of a lifetime…(but) it’s time,” Schiff says.

He chose to serve at the North Courthouse in Deerfield Beach.  That’s away from the main Fort Lauderdale courthouse’s big cases, which bring the attention many judges crave. 

Schiff preferred the remote satellite courthouse. When asked why, he would say it was near his home. 

Maybe there was another reason. 

The Main Courthouse is infected with political infighting and rumor mongering. It seems like the courthouse crowd is always gearing up for the next election. 

Schiff ducked those distractions in the Deerfield Beach satellite courthouse. He preferred lecturing all over the country to gossiping about politics when not on the bench. 

He taught other judges ethics and the ways to handle difficult litigants.  He taught them about sentencing. He taught them about his work to discourage youth smoking. 

When not lecturing, Schiff became an expert on legal issues surrounding his passion — baseball. 

He and law professor Robert Jarvis authored a 2016 text book Baseball and The Law that is used in law schools. They are currently at work on a second book, and finding time to finish it is one of the reasons that he is retiring.

If there was a sound track to Schiff’s life it would be played on the trumpet.  He’s been playing the trumpet all his life, just like his Dad did.  (The family runs All County Music in Tamarac, where generations of music students bought or rented instruments.) 

Schiff now can be heard in the University of Florida Alumni Band. He’s probably playing some of the same tunes he played as a 1973 UF freshman in the marching band.




Lou Schiff as a freshman University of Florida band member, 1973, followed by him in the 2022 UF Alumni Band.



Expect Lou Schiff to tackle retirement with the enthusiasm he has shown for life the past 68 years.  This guy who has a rich, full future planned, who still has a lot to give. 

Schiff could have quit now and allowed Gov. Ron DeSantis name his replacement. By leaving at the end of his term, he is allowing voters to choose. 

No doubt as soon as word of Schiff’s retirement hits legal circles, there will be no shortage of lawyers lining up to replace him.

“I got in though an election,” Schiff said. “I will leave it to the voters to determine who replaces me.”

Allowing Broward voters rather than DeSantis to pick the next judge might just be the best legacy Schiff leaves us.




6 Responses to “Longtime Judge Is Calling It Quits”

  1. The Owl knows says:

    Judge Lou Schiff is a good guy. He’s kind and well-meaning and has always tried hard. As you wrote, he has many passions and talents. Bob Jarvis on the other hand…The fact Lou can even get along with him let alone write a book with him is a true testament to Lou’s character.

  2. Millie says:

    Knowing His Honor, he will have a rewarding second half of his life.

  3. Well Said says:

    It would awesome if Sam Goren would run for this pending judicial vacancy!!!!

  4. To “Well Said” says:

    Why would it be awesome for Sam Goren to run for a seat that he’s too old to get? Mandatory retirement is age 75. This seat starts January 2025. It would be a colossal waste of his time and money.

  5. Richard J Kaplan says:

    Welcome to retirement. It’s a wonderful place to be. Enjoy.

  6. Well Said says:

    Because he is just that good………..