Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2013 – 6:32 am

George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama, became a national political figure on his pledge to “stand in the schoolhouse door” to preserve “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

Wallace symbolically blocked black students from entering the University of Alabama in 1963, thus defying a federal court order.

Historians later concluded his gesture was aimed at proving to white Alabamans that he was not soft on integration despite a moderate earlier record on racial issues – that he, in his own words, would not be “outsegged” by anyone.

Jerry Brown is light-years removed from Wallace on racial issues; while Wallace was posturing in Alabama, Brown was spending his spring break from Yale Law School in Mississippi as a civil rights worker.

Nevertheless, Brown seems to be adopting Wallace’s tactic as he spars with federal judges on another states’ rights issue.

Federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have ordered Brown to reduce the prison population to end overcrowding. He and the Legislature enacted realignment two years ago to divert some low-level felons into local jails, thus reducing the inmate load by attrition.

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