|Current Court Information:|
|Oklahoma Supreme Court|
|Appointed by:||Gov. David Walters|
|Past post:||Judge, Oklahoma District 3|
|Past post 2:||Altus City Attorney|
|Past term 2:||1980-1985|
|Undergraduate:||Texas Tech University, 1969|
|Law School:||University of Texas Law School, 1972|
Joseph M. Watt is a justice on the Oklahoma Supreme Court. He was appointed to the court by Democratic Governor David Walters on May 18, 1992. He was retained by voters in 1996, 2002 and 2008. His current term ends in 2014.
- 1993-2014: Justice, Oklahoma Supreme Court
- 1985-1992: Judge, Oklahoma District 3
- 1980-1985: Altus City Attorney
- 1973-1980: Attorney, Private practice
Awards and Associations
- Outstanding Law Student in the Nation, Delta Theta Phi upon his graduation from The University of Texas School of Law.
- Past Secretary and President, Altus Rotary Club
Suit filed against Watt
At 83 years old, Marian P. Opala, a justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, believes that he deserves to be chief justice, and he is miffed that his colleagues have elected someone else to the post. He has sued all eight colleagues in federal court for age discrimination. In his suit, filed last week in Federal District Court in Oklahoma City, Justice Opala said that he "enjoys good health and sound mental acuity" and that he was unfairly denied the prestige of being chief justice, including the "ceremonial duties" and slightly higher salary.
The Oklahoma Constitution allows members of the court to choose their own chief justice. In recent years, under the court's internal rules, the position has rotated, two years at a time, among those justices who have served at least six years. Justice Opala, who joined the court in 1978, served once, from 1991 to 1992. It was his turn to serve again starting this month.
In November, the other justices changed the rules, and Chief Justice Joseph M. Watt was elected to a second two-year term. That was, Justice Opala said, "an unprecedented extension in the annals of Oklahoma judicial history." The extension, he said, was a product of "an almost true-to-fiction plot" between Chief Justice Watt and some of the "young Turks" on the court. Chief Justice Watt issued a brief statement acknowledging that he had been served with the suit. He said he would not comment "until the appropriate time." Yesterday, the other seven defendants declined to comment or did not respond to messages seeking comment. A spokesman for Drew Edmondson, brother of Judge James E. Edmondson, whose office is representing the defendants, said it was too early to describe their defense. 
In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of State Supreme Court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Watt received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -0.4, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is more liberal than the average CF score of 0.33 that justices received in Oklahoma. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.
- The Supreme Court of the State of Oklahoma, Justice Joseph M. Watt, District No. 9
- Project Vote Smart, Justice Joseph M. Watt (OK)
- Questia, "Oklahoma Supreme Court sides with Midwest City in eminent domain", April 4, 2008
- News from Indian Country, "Oklahoma tribes disagree with state Supreme Court ruling on liability", February 2008
- ↑ Oklahoma State Election Board, 2008 General Election Results
- ↑ See Judicial selection in Oklahoma
- ↑ Project Vote Smart, Justice Joseph M. Watt (OK)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 The Supreme Court of the State of Oklahoma, Justice Joseph M. Watt, District No. 9
- ↑ University of Texas School of Law, "Jospeh Watt, '72, Named Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court", January 22, 2003
- ↑ The New York Times, "Oklahoma Judge, 83, Files Bias Suit Against Colleagues", January 5, 2005
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Opala v. Watt
- ↑ Stanford University "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012
|Former||Rudolph Hargrave • Marian Opala • Robert E. Lavender •|