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WAAT Member Teresa Watson Sworn in as New District Court Judge

Published on 2/18/2015

From Topeka Capital-Journal Article posted online on December 12, 2014.


Teresa Watson sworn in as new district court judge

Former law partner praises her passion, determination

At Friday’s swearing-in ceremony for new District Court Judge Teresa Watson, her former law partner David Cooper praised her passion for her profession.

Cooper’s emotional introduction of Watson, whom he described as his classmate, co-worker, partner and friend of many years, highlighted Watson’s lifelong determination to become a judge.

“Teresa is a force,” he said. “She’s an irrepressible force.”

Watson, 45, has taken the place of District Court Judge Jean Schmidt, the Division 3 judge who retired in September.

Watson previously worked at both the Kansas Court of Appeals and the Kansas Supreme Court before joining the Topeka law firm of Fisher, Patterson, Sayler and Smith.

In her new role, Watson will handle domestic law responsibilities, including divorces, child support, visitation, protection from abuse orders, and protection from stalking orders.

Chief Judge Evelyn Wilson began the swearing-in ceremony by saying it was “a very special day” and congratulating Watson.

“I hope that she finds this position as professionally rewarding and personally gratifying as I do,” Wilson said.

After Cooper spoke about Watson’s background and tearfully embraced her, Watson approached the bench to take the oath. Her husband, Whitney, stood beside her.

After she was sworn in, her husband helped her into a black robe. She then stepped onto the dais and sat down in the judge’s seat.

“I like the view from up here,” she told the courtroom.Watson told the room filled with her family and supporters that her heart was full.

“I have wanted to be a judge since I was a little girl,” she said. “Through a wonderful series of blessings, it has come to pass.”

However, she also made it clear she understood decisions made in district court are often final and life-altering. She promised to serve with diligence, fairness and integrity.

“This is a sobering thought,” Watson said. “It is not lost on me how important it is that I get up and do my very best every single day.”

Samantha Foster can be reached at (785) 295-1186 or
Follow Samantha on Twitter @samfoster_ks.