What do you do if you are a federal judge who sent an inappropriate email about the president?
You file a complaint against yourself, obviously.
Chief Federal Judge Richard Cebull was outed this week after sending a “racially charged” email to his home address and several other contacts via his chamber computer.† According to Cebull, who was appointed to his judgeship by former President George W. Bush, he didn’t send the email on because it was racist, however, but because it was anti-Obama.
Via the Great Falls Tribune, “The judge acknowledged that the content of the email was racist, but said he does not consider himself racist. He said the email was intended to be a private communication. ‘It was not intended by me in any way to become public,’ Cebull said. ‘I apologize to anybody who is offended by it, and I can obviously understand why people would be offended…This is a private thing that was, to say the least, very poor judgment on my part…I did not forward it because of the racist nature of it. Although it is racist, I’m not that way, never have been.’”
As word of his actions spread, Cebull realized that a more heartfelt apology was in order, so he provided one to the person who most deserved it — President Barack Obama.† “I sincerely and profusely apologize to you and your family for the email I forwarded. I accept full responsibility; I have no one to blame but myself. I can assure you that such action on my part will never happen again….Honestly, I donít know what else I can do. Please forgive me and, again, my most sincere apology.Ē
But he did find one more thing he could do.† He filed a complaint against himself, initiating a disciplinary investigation on his own actions.† “‘Chief District Judge Cebull has publicly acknowledged that he has acted inappropriately,’ said Cathy Catterson, circuit executive for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in a prepared statement. ‘By letter to Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit, Judge Cebull has initiated the process by which a complaint of judicial misconduct will be brought against him, Chief Judge Kozinski has informed the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit of the complaint. The Judicial Council is expected to act expeditiously in investigating and resolving this matter.’”
According to the National Law Journal, once the investigation is completed, Cebull could face any form of discipline ranging from a reprimand to impeachment.
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