Judge Sends Racist Email About President, Files Complaint Against Himself

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.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


michele n.
michele n.4 years ago

"can't we all just get along!?"wrong as he was at least he admitted it.most people lie even when caught.

Adam G.
Adam G.4 years ago

racism is WRONG and intolerable to any decent, rational human being. judge, I hope you get fired from your job & your employment opportunities are limited to cleaning toilets & sewers. that's where you belong.

Robby C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Indsey- very well put & I completely agree w/everything you said. Unfortunately, when it comes to women's rights, it's not just white males either- there are countries FAR WORSE. I'd always hoped that America would lead the way w/this one, but it seems, in some cases, that we are reverting to some extent. Very dissapointing. I've always thought women should be afforded equal rights. I'd love to see a day when they really get equal rights & not just on the books, but in the minds of everyone. I want people to feel that way- not just go through the motions b/c of some piece of paper. It should start at the heart. But yes, frustration is a big issue here & I'll admit, I've let my frustration get the better of me too. It's taken time for me to try to NOT insult, etc, whenever I'm attacked. I'm still not perfect though & feel sure I never will be... But I'll keep trying.

Lindsey DTSW
.4 years ago


But that part of the problem that's merely blind adherence to politically-correct values is, to my way of thinking, going to result in just as many injustices as it thinks it's correcting. And if some can't even try to understand the other side's point of view honestly (even if they don't end up agreeing) then I don't see they have any hope of actually working productively towards change.

Lindsey DTSW
.4 years ago

I think some (though hardly all) of the problem, Robby, is frustration. And it is frustrating to see social problems existing all around you and yet they can't seem to be fixed quickly enough. Unfortunately the things we're fighting in this regard (oppression of women and suspicion/dislike/fear, etc. of those who seem on the surface unlike us) have been around likely since humans first arose on this earth. And they aren't going to go away in just the few decades that we've been fighting them hard - they're just too deeply ingrained to whisk away that quickly. It frustrates me that I won't live to see a time when my sex is accorded equal rights in full by society. It frustrates me that my niece won't live to see that. Or likely even her children. But I really think that trampling on the rights of "white males" isn't going to to get us there - it just creates new victims (and very understandably creates a lot of resentment and backlash from those "white males"). I think the root causes that have to be addressed are going to take much longer to be corrected than any of us would like to see - but I don't think that there are any shortcuts.

I'd love to be proved wrong, though.

Robby C.
Past Member 4 years ago

No Constance, Lindsey is just one of the few who happens to think that things should be fair for EVERYONE. Not just whites, or minorities, or women, or men, etc... You know, the way the world SHOULD be & should always have been. We can't change the past. Lindsey knows this, I know this, & I assume (& hope) that you know this. It's sad, but it's true. We can only change the future. Lindsey has plenty of compassion. Many of us do. I've stood up for women's rights here MANY times & the reason I came here was b/c of animal welfare- I'm a compassionate person. But I'm also a realist & I can see compassion works for all races. Calling her &/or other people here, ignorant shills, & all of your other little petty insults, just shows a lack of class.

Robby C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Constance K calling lindsey a shill, & ignorant no less.... LOL! Where is the 'eating popcorn' emoticon?

Lee- right-to-work states have existed for a long time & work quite well at times. Did you know that if someone gives a bad review of a bad ex-employee to someone checking a reference, they can be sued? How stupid! Why bother w/a reference? If I owned a business, I'd hire whomever I wanted based on performance. It's not up to you or even the govt to say that one has a "quota" to follow. If there are 10 positions & 10 white men who are best qualified for the job, & there are many minority & white applicants, but the law says you have to hire 3 minorities, how is that fair? Only if there ARE 3 minority applicants more qualified, would it be. Discrimination is hiring the less qualified, regardless of color. Forcing quotas, does not help us in the long run. Education & pushing for equality is what's needed. It's no more fair or equal to hire a minority over a white person (who is more qualified) than the other way around.

Lindsey- Constance K's most recent post, after all of your nice posts, which were incredibly clear & easy to understand, just proves my point. Re: ignorance, when people have to read a very clear & concise message, but continually pick at it & misread it's point, they're the one's being ignorant. Either that OR they're intentionally misreading- which is worse than ignorant.

Constance Kosuda
constance kosuda4 years ago

what you are proposing then, is that whites with dicks get all the best jobs forever, just like they have throughout history -

and because you feel it's ok, does not make it so -

too many others folks, without dicks, or not white, have suffered too much -

try to show some compassion for them -

I am removing myself from this list, as it is too preposterous and ignorant, and probably infiltrated by shills - so take care - read some books.

Lindsey DTSW
.4 years ago

Oh, by the way - I'm neither a shill nor ignorant. Though since one of the definitions of "dogmatic" is "opinionated", I admit to that - since I am unquestionably opinionated - as are a large portion of those here on Care2. That's part of the interest of the forum - getting to debate ideas and share one's own. And sometimes to learn something (since new evidence can always change opinion.) I find those who don't have strong opinions on at least some matters fairly dull.

Lindsey DTSW
.4 years ago

It isn't 'wrong' to redress injuries, Constance. The question is whether or not the method is right, whether that kind of blanket redress is right, and whether or not it's fair to penalize the innocent while attempting to redress the historic wrong. In effect, whether or not two wrongs make a right in a given circumstance. As one of those who was harmed by those historical wrongs, in this instance I personally say not.