A celebration of the U.S. Court of Appeals judge’s half-century of service is postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Oct. 16, Senior U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat marks a half-century on the federal bench.
“Fifty years ago, a young state court judge named Gerald Bard Tjoflat became a United States District Judge for the Middle District of Florida,” said U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan in a statement provided by the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.
Tjoflat was a judge in the 4th Judicial Circuit in Jacksonville from 1968 to 1970, when former President Richard Nixon signed the commission appointing Tjoflat to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
In 1975, former President Gerald Ford appointed Tjoflat to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. In 1981 he was reassigned to serve on the newly created 11th Circuit.
He was the 11th Circuit’s chief judge from 1989 to 1996.
Tjoflat, 91, took senior judge status in November and continues to serve the 11th Circuit, Corrigan said.
Tjoflat received his degree from Duke University School of Law in 1957 after serving in the Counterintelligence Corps of the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
“Plans for an in-person celebration of Tjoflat’s service on the federal bench are delayed until next year, but please join me in congratulating Judge Tjoflat on this milestone,” Corrigan said.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, noncourt-related group gatherings aren't being scheduled at the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse.
In recognition of Tjoflat’s service to the courts and the community, the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association is making a donation in his honor to Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, said chapter President Tim Danninger.
Only 26 federal judges have served more than 50 years, including Judges Learned Hand, Jack Weinstein and William Augustus Bootle, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.