MAUZY, OSCAR HOLCOMBE (1926 ~ 2000). Oscar Holcombe Mauzy, State Senator and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, was born on November 9, 1926, the sixth of eight children, to Lincoln Mauzy, Sr. and Mildred Eva Kincaid. Mauzy was named after long-time Houston Mayor, Oscar Holcombe. Mauzy's father, who died when his son was three, worked as a union organizer.
Due to his father's death, Oscar's mother, Mildred, was left to raise her eight children in Houston's Fifth Ward during the Great Depression. In 1941, Mauzy's mother refused to allow her son to enter the armed services after the attack on Pearl Harbor; this led him to graduate as salutatorian of Jeff Davis High School. After graduation, Mauzy joined the Navy on his own. He served as a Radar Man, 3rd Class aboard the USS Washington in the Pacific Theater.
After the war, Mauzy took advantage of the G. I. Bill and left the oil refineries to attend the University of Texas at Austin, where he received a law degree in 1952. While at UT, Mauzy, then President of the MidLaw Class, and in the ways of his father, led a strike when a course catalogue change, by Law School Dean Werdner Keeton, would have required his class to take more hours. Mauzy met with the Dean, without crossing the picket line, and successfully resolved the issue for his class.
Like his father, Mauzy was called to labor issues and joined the Dallas labor law firm headed by Otto Mullinax and Nat Wells. His first assignment with the firm was as a driver in Ralph Yarborough's campaign for governor. With that small beginning in politics, Mauzy became a sizable force in the battle for single member legislative districts and was then elected to the State Senate from the Dallas suburb of Oak Cliff in 1966. On February 14, 1976, Mauzy married his high school friend, Anne Rogers.
In 1979, twelve senators, with Mauzy as one of the leaders, broke quorum to protest a separate day presidential primary they felt would undermine the progressive forces in the Democratic Party, thus creating the legend of the "Killer Bees." The twelve senators spent several days cramped in a garage apartment hiding from Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The senators stayed hidden until Hobby killed the bill.
In 1986, Mauzy fulfilled a life-long dream of sitting on the Texas Supreme Court. While on the Court, he was a formidable force for the people's right to a trial by jury. His passion for public education and every Texas child's equal right to access educational resources, culminated in his authorship of the Court's unanimous opinion in Edgewood Vs. Kirby, which declared the state's mechanism for funding public education was unconstitutional. That decision led the Legislature to enact the share-the-wealth law that had richer school districts sharing money with poorer ones. After losing his seat on the Court in 1992, Mauzy still fought for justice and the Democratic Party activities.
Justice Mauzy died Tuesday, October 10, 2000, after a brave battle against lung cancer. An anatomical donor, Mauzy had a cenotaph, or memorial marker, placed in the Texas State Cemetery.
Information taken from "Former Supreme Court justice fought for education, little guy," Austin American-Statesman, October 11, 2000, and obituary in the Austin American-Statesman, October 12, 2000.