The Dallas Morning News reports that long-time U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice passed away yesterday.

Update:  Judge Justice served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas before taking the bench in 1968.  Thirty years later, he took senior status and moved to Austin.

The Austin Statesman-American carries a mostly glowing obituary.  Blawgletter found it worth reading. 

We recall Judge Justice in our youth from spiteful things that adults in our East Texas home town said about him.  His orders desegregated the middle school we started going to in sixth grade — 16 or so years after Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).  People who didn't know him seemed to hate him for that.

In college, we wrote a seminar paper on why whites in the South resisted school integration so much.  We posited that coercion by federal power made mixing races in classrooms an unnecessarily bitter pill.  The impoliteness and presumptuousness of the feds seemed to us partly to blame for white push back.

Judge Justice didn't share our naiveté.  All carrot and no stick doesn't work all the time.  Many today thank God he understood that.