Andy King preacher, nor, he is at pains to point out, even a monotheist. Yet you will learn about his place of worship in the world: a sacred live oak tree in Brackenridge Park, where a she-owl presides over his service of prayer and meditation. Maury is no theologian, nor one who admires the poobahs of organized religions, but you will be moved by his account of the 1990 ordination of Presbyterian minister Duncan Borland of San Antonio, a young man stricken with multiple sclerosis. You will learn, too, about Robert Green Ingersoll, self-educated lawyer, Civil War soldier, Illinois attorney general. Ingersoll appears during Maury’s sleep and straightforwardly proposes that the two “have a discussion about organized religion.” And so they do. “Somebody, ought to tell the truth about the Bible,” Ingersoll says. “They forget its ignorance and savagery, its religious persecution; they remember heaven, but they forget the dungeons of eternal pain. Liberty is my religion. ‘Liberty’ is a word hated by kingsloathed by popes.” Maury plays the role of shocked true believer: “Mr. Ingersoll, I have had enough. How dare you say the Bible is the ‘enslaver of women’? After all, you are the son of a Presbyterian minister!” Eventually, Maury lets Ingersoll escape the mock denunciations and tell us his \(and thought: Preachers, Ingersoll declares, “have no right to erect [their] tollgate upon the highway of thought.” “A believer is a bird in a cage. A free thinker is an eagle parting the clouds with tireless wing.” Maury’s plainspokenness did not develop after he began working as a columnist; he has always had a straightforward and quirky way of putting things. In one of his most famous cases as a lawyer, Maury represented I.H. “Sporty” Harvey, a black boxer challenging a 1933 Texas law that banned professional boxing matches between black and white fighters. Maury started his brief to the appeals court this way: “Point of Error No. 1: This is a case about Sporty Harvey not being able to pick up his grocery money.” Maury and Sporty won the 1954 case, despite Texas officials’ warnings that race riots would break out if blacks and whites climbed into the ring together. 0 n May 12 the state held one of its twice-yearly rituals, the swearing in of new lawyers. It would have been nice to press a copy of Texas Iconoclast into the hands of those recent law school graduatesto show them that their practice doesn’t have to be all about money and deep-carpet law firms. Of the nearly 800 new lawyers sworn in, how many will chart a courseor even tread near the same paththat Maury Maverick Jr. followed in his first career? The safe answer is: too few. The most money Maury Maverick Jr. earned from the practice of law was about $27,000, in 1985. For most of his legal career Maury was a cooperating attorney for the Ameri can and Texas Civil Liberties Unions. Aside from that earnings spike in the mid’ 80s, which was due to a referral fee he received from a lawyer for a lucrative case, Maury’s annual earnings never climbed higher than the low teens. Yet Maury has great affection for his legal accomplishments and few regrets about his low-dollar practice. In a 1990 profile in Texas Lawyer he said, “If I dropped dead tonight, I would know that I did something for my country and Texas and I had an exciting time doing it.” His former law-firm partner, Academy sporting goods store entrepreneur Arthur Gochman of Houston, spent ten years practicing with Maverick. “It wasn’t a time to think about making money, but it was a time to think MAY 23, 1997 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 29
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.