Joseph M. Watt

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For other people named Joseph Watt, see Joseph Watt (disambiguation).
Joseph M. Watt
Justice of the
Supreme Court of Oklahoma
Assumed office
May 18, 1992
Appointed by David Walters
Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Oklahoma
In office
January 8, 2003 – January 11, 2007
Preceded by Rudolph Hargrave
Succeeded by James R. Winchester
Personal details
Born (1947-03-08) March 8, 1947 (age 70)
Austin, Texas
Alma mater Texas Tech University

Joseph M. Watt (born March 8, 1947) is a Justice on the Oklahoma Supreme Court, who assume the post in 1992. He was reelected in 1994, 1996, and 2002. From 2003 to 2007, he served two terms as Chief Justice. In 2005, he was reelected to an unprecedented second term as Chief Justice, despite a federal age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Court's then-Vice Chief Justice Marian P. Opala, then 83 years old, who claimed Supreme Court rules were changed to prevent him from becoming Chief Justice.

Early life[edit]

Watt was born in Austin, Texas and graduated from high school there in 1965. In 1969, he earned a bachelor's degree majoring in history and government from Texas Tech University. He earned his J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1972. A year later, he moved to Altus, Oklahoma, working in private practice until his appointment as the Altus city attorney in 1980, serving in that capacity until his appointment as a Special District Judge for Jackson County, Oklahoma in 1985. The following year, he was elected as an Associate Judge, serving in that capacity until 1991. From 1991 until his appointment to the state Supreme Court, he served as General Counsel in the Office of Oklahoma Governor David Walters. He is married to Cathy Watt, and has four children, and three grandchildren.