ALTUS, OK (KSWO) - A former Oklahoma Supreme Court judge was honored Tuesday evening in Altus.
Justice Joe Watt retired December 31st of 2017 from his seat in District 9, which covers many southwest Oklahoma counties.
Before serving on the on the Oklahoma Supreme Court for 25 years, Justice Watt spent several years in Altus. He said the rural town taught him core values that he brought to the Supreme Court. He was an Altus City Prosecutor, Private Attorney, Jackson County Special District Judge and Associate District Judge.
He said he always felt public service was meant for him.
"Very, very few people get to do what I've done and I've just been so blessed to be able to do it," he said.
Justice Watt told the reception attendees one of the more interesting cases he saw was the 2015 10 Commandments case that was ruled unconstitutional. He said most people weren't happy about the ruling – but he said he preferred to protect the constitution over winning popularity contests.
While he's going to miss his colleagues, Watt said there are some things he's not going to miss – like the roughly 2,500 pages he had to read to get ready for docket. One of the primary motivations for him to retire was wanting to spend more time with his loved ones.
"My family has made a sacrifice for me over the years so I could live my dream of serving in public service. I owe it back to my family now to give them my time while I'm still relatively young and healthy and so that's why we pulled the trigger and decided to retire," Justice Watt said.
Watt's seat has not yet been filled.