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William Sears McGee (1917-2006)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1969-1986

William Sears McGee was born September 29, 1917, in Houston, Texas. He attended Rice Institute (now Rice University) from 1935 to 1937, and The University of Texas School of Law from 1938 to 1940, earned his L.L.B. in 1940, and was admitted to the Texas bar the same year. He practiced law in his uncle's Houston law firm for the next three years, principally in oil and gas litigation, and supplemented his income by working nights in the Houston shipyards. He was married in 1941, and he and his wife went on to have six children.

During the Second World War, McGee served in the Pacific theatre from 1943 to 1946 as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserves. Following the war he took a refresher course in Texas law at the South Texas College of Law before rejoining his uncle's firm. From 1948 to 1954 he was a Harris County Court at Law judge. He taught civil procedure at the University of Houston School of Law from 1949 to 1951. In 1954 Gov. Allan Shivers appointed him judge of the 151st District Court, but he resigned a year later to return to private practice to help his uncle, whose health was declining. From 1957 to 1959, McGee served as director of the State Bar of Texas. From 1959 to 1968, he was judge of the Fifty-fifth District in Harris County.

McGee was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1968, and took office in January 1969, replacing retiring justice Meade Griffin. He was reelected for two six-year terms, in 1974 and 1980, serving until 1986. During his eighteen years on the bench he wrote hundreds of opinions.

William Sears McGee died August 4, 2006 in Austin at the age of eighty-eight.


Texas Supreme Court Advisory: William Sears McGee, Texas Judiciary Online (visited September 26, 2006).

William McGee, Texas State Cemetery (visited September 26, 2006).

Extended bibliography

Additional information available in Texas Bar Journal as follow:
Volume 20, page 695
Volume 31, page 1006
Volume 32, page 81
Volume 36, page 1140

McGee to Run for Supreme Court Seat, Dallas Morning News, Jan. 13, 1963.

McGee is High Court Candidate, Houston Post, Jan. 27, 1968.

McGee Takes Oath Jan. 3, Austin American-Statesman, Dec. 22, 1968.

McGee Inaugurated as Associate Justice, Dallas Morning News, Jan. 4, 1969.