Judge Behind Racist Obama Email Retires

     (CN) – The 9th Circuit announced the retirement late Tuesday of a federal judge who forwarded his friends a racist email about President Barack Obama.
     U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull, who presided in the District of Montana, had asked Chief Judge Alex Kozinski in March 2012 to initiate an inquiry as to whether he committed misconduct under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act by transmitting an email containing racially offensive content.
     The email in question, which Cebull admitted to sending, began with the note: “Normally I don’t send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.
     “A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white? His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!'”
     Cebull had forwarded the email on Feb. 20 to six of his “old buddies,” who continued forwarding it with Cebull’s name still attached to it. He did so from official courthouse email address, during work hours.
     Kozinski said Tuesday that a Special Committee conducted a thorough and extensive investigation into “Cebull’s self-filed complaint and another.” That probe included interviews with witnesses and Cebull, as well as consideration of “voluminous documentation, including emails.”
     The Special Committee submitted its report to the Judicial Council in December 2012, according the Kozinski’s statement. That council issued an order and memorandum on March 15, 2013, but the documents are to remain confidential during the appeal period.
     Cebull in turn submitted his retirement letter, effective May 3, 2013.
     “The council will have no further statement on this matter until Judge Cebull’s retirement is effective,” Kozinski said.
     Cebull, a Billings native, was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush in 2001 and had been chief judge for the District of Montana since 2008.
     In a formal apology sent to Obama after news of the email spread, Cebull wrote: “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. I have requested that the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit review this matter. Honestly, I don’t know what else I can do. Please forgive me and, again, my most sincere apology.”
     Federal judges are appointed for life. They can be removed by impeachment, in Congress.

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