Warning: If you’re ever a plaintiff in a racial discrimination claim, and you see that the, umm, Honorable Richard Cebull is presiding over your case, you might want to ask for a different judge.
As reported by Yahoo! News (here):
A senior US judge has apologized after sending an email containing a racist joke about President Barack Obama that equated African Americans with dogs, a newspaper reported.
Richard Cebull, chief US district judge in the state of Montana, said he sent the email to a small group of friends because he is opposed to Obama. He acknowledged it was racist, but denied being racist himself.
…Cebull, who was nominated by former president George W. Bush and has served as chief judge for the District of Montana since 2008, sent the message from his court email address on February 20, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
The judge admitted that he sent the email to six “old buddies,” the paper reported.
Beyond the incredulity of his explanation, there are serious judicial implications about his worldview.
First, he should not be presiding over any discrimination claims, period. In fact, he should not be allowed to preside over any proceeding that includes African-American parties, lawyers, or witnesses.
Second, all past cases involving the judge that included African American parties, lawyers, or witnesses must be reexamined for evidence of judicial bias.
Wrapped in the flag
If you go to this article in the Billings Gazette, you’ll see a photo of Judge Cebull presiding over his courtroom, with an American flag draped over the bench. I guess he’s just an old fashioned patriot.
As far as I’m concerned, he should do the patriotic thing and resign his position.
Update 3/4/12 — Amanda Bronstad reports for the National Law Journal (here):
Richard Cebull, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Montana, has initiated a disciplinary investigation into his own behavior after acknowledging he sent a racist e-mail to friends and family about President Obama.
Bronstad further reports on a growing number of public interest and civil rights groups calling for Cebull’s resignation or removal from the bench.