Judge Says It Was Just A Racist Joke Amongst Friends
Dishonorable Judge Richard Cebull admitted forwarding an email to a few of his friends about President Barack Obama that appears to equate African Americans with dogs and raises questions about Mr. Obama’s ancestry. Mr. Cebull claims that under normal circumstances he would not send or forward a message of this caliber, but this one was so gosh darn funny that he just wanted his friends to experience the same emotional response he had. When he forwarded the email, Mr. Cebull wrote that he hoped the message touched the hearts of his friends like it touched his.
The Great Falls Tribune obtained a copy of the email message that was forwarded by Mr. Cebull. The chief judge of the United States district headquartered in Billings Montana since 2008 admitted that the content was racist but insisted he had forwarded it to six of his buddies because he doesn’t like Mr. Obama and not because he was racist. The message was sent from the judge’s official court room email account. Mr. Cebull claims that the message was never intended to be made public and apologized to anyone who may have been offended by it. The only possible explanation the judge had for his behavior was his dislike for the President. Although the message was racist, the judge insisted he didn’t send it as a commentary on anybody’s race. And this is supposed to be a chief judge of a federal court.
The message has a boy asking his mother why he is black and she is white. The mother tells the boy, “Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!’ According to the Tribune, the message was sent on February 20th with the subject title, “A MOM’S MEMORY.” Mr. Cebull claimed he received the email from his brother. The fact that Mr. Cebull would forward such racist rhetoric, against America’s first black President of all people, is white hot, glaring evidence that he is unfit to be a federal judge.
Mr. Cebull said he does not consider himself to be racially prejudiced and says that his actions in his courtroom have demonstrated that fact. If that’s true that’s all well and good. But the fact that we now have proof positive of how racially insensitive this judge can be, how he can let his personal feelings to override his sense of sensibility, his credibility of being an impartial arbitrator of law for people seeking justice has been severely damaged. We now have reason to suspect his integrity and his professionalism. What jokes has he sent to his buddies that we haven’t seen yet? We see that he has the potential to be a closet racist. Does he have the potential to be a closet sexist as well? That joke did insinuate that Mr. Obama’s mother may have been committing acts of bestiality.
An appellate court will conduct a judicial misconduct review of Mr. Cebull. The 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals will lead an investigation and promises to act expeditiously. The 9th court can censure or reprimand Mr. Cebull, order that no new cases be assigned to him for a period of time, or they can ask Mr. Cebull to retire. But if warranted, the appellate court may refer the matter to the Judicial Conference of the United States if it is determined that Mr. Cebull’s conduct was so gross that it may constitute grounds for impeachment.
But in all honesty the likelihood that this wayward judge’s punishment would be severe is highly unlikely. More than likely the whole matter will be swept under a rug with a stiff reprimand. No doubt Mr. Cebull has developed a network of good ol’ boy buddies who share all kinds of emails and jokes on the down low and they will no doubt pull their resources to help their friend.
Mr. Cebull wants to act like this is some isolated incident. If he had the integrity to be a judge above reproach he would’ve told his racist email sending buddies to take his name off their list. If he saw the email in his personal inbox he should’ve rebuked the source and deleted and that sentiment should have been magnified a thousand times when he actually saw in his official inbox. Instead, Mr. Cebull became another cog in the great American machine that not only tolerates racism but participates in it.
Would it be okay for Mr. Cebull to don a white sheet with a matching pointy hat and burn crosses as long as he does it with his klan buddies and nobody finds out? Of course it wouldn’t. I would like to think that such blatant racism would not be tolerated in our American collective. I would like to think that people understand the need to keep such a person out of such an influential position in our judicial system. So why then would we want to give a pass to this man who would distribute a racist email without batting an eye or giving any consideration to what the consequences might be if what he was doing came to light? We shouldn’t tolerate racism and we especially shouldn’t tolerate it when it is staring us right in the face from our judicial system.
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