For a few hours Friday, a Confederate battle flag flew over a Mississippi state building.
"Have we seceded already?" asked Joseph Parker, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Southern Mississippi. "The execution is faster than I thought."
The Confederate battle flag was placed atop the state Supreme Court building about 2 p.m. Friday as a result of a mistake, explained Kym Wiggins, public information officer for the state Department of Finance and Administration.
She said the flag accidentally was put up to replace a Mississippi state flag that was tattered and torn.
Wiggins said workers had gone to the local vendor to get state flags and were given two boxes labeled "Mississippi State Flag."
Unknown to the workers, the boxes actually contained Confederate battle flags, she said.
A maintenance worker put the flag up at 2 p.m., and it had been replaced by 4 p.m. after the mistake was realized, she said. "It's unfortunate."
The vendor has been notified to make sure no future problems take place, she said. "It's highly unusual."
Last month, Mississippi became the subject of late-night talk show host humor after two state lawmakers introduced a bill that would create a Joint Legislative Committee on the Neutralization of Federal Laws. It has since died in committee.
Parker recalled former Louisiana Gov. Earl Long's words to political boss Leander Perez, "You can't fight the feds. They have the atom bomb."
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