Joseph M. Watt

Score: 17%
Joseph M. Watt
Appointed by: Governor David Walters
Retention date: May 18, 1992

Justice Joseph M. Watt was born in Austin, Texas, March 8, 1947. He graduated from Austin High School in 1965. He received his B.A. degree in History/Government from Texas Tech University in 1969, and his Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1972. That same year, Watt was named Outstanding Law Student in the Nation by the Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity and he was elected to the University of Texas Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa National Honorary Leadership. Watt was admitted to practice law in both Texas and Oklahoma. He moved to Altus, Oklahoma, in 1973, and was in private practice there from 1973 to 1985. During that time, he served as City Prosecutor for 12 years and as City Attorney from 1980 to 1985. Watt was appointed Special District Judge for Jackson County, Oklahoma, in 1985, and thereafter, was elected by voters to be Associate District Judge in 1986. He served in that capacity until January, 1991, when he was asked to serve as Governor’s General Counsel. On May 18, 1992, Watt was appointed to the Supreme Court of Oklahoma and was retained by the voters in 1994, 1996 and again in 2002. Having served as Vice-Chief Justice in 2001 and 2002, Watt was unanimously elected by his colleagues on the Supreme Court to serve as Chief Justice in 2003 and 2004. He was again chosen by his colleagues to serve a second consecutive term as Chief Justice beginning in 2005. Watt served the Oklahoma Judicial Conference as Vice-President for two years, President-Elect, and during 1996 as President. He was a member of the Appellate Division on the Court on Judiciary 1997-2002 and Supreme Court Liaison to the Oklahoma Bar Association, 1997-2002. Watt is a past Secretary and President of the Altus Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. Watt and his wife, Cathy, are the parents of Justin, Christopher, Jennifer (married to Jon Miller) and Michael. They have two grandchildren, Benjamin Watt Miller and Mary Grace Miller. His interests include his family and —- on rarer occasions — a round of golf.