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Montana News

Mar 1, 2012 5:48 PM by KTVQ (Billings)

Cebull plans to formally apologize to President Obama about email

Montana Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull says he plans to formally apologize to President Obama about the inappropriate email the judge sent out about the President.

That word today comes from U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg's office.

Rehberg spokesman Jed Link tells Montana's News Station that Rehberg (R-MT) spoke with the judge by phone on Thursday afternoon and expressed his concern about the matter.

Link says Judge Cebull apologized and Rehberg took his apology to be heartfelt and sincere.

According to Link, Cebull also indicated that he is sending a formal apology to President Obama and that he is asking the 9th Circuit to review the matter.

Link said, "Denny believes both of those steps are necessary and appropriate at this point in time."

On Wednesday, Judge Cebull acknowledged that he had forwarded an email to six friends from his courthouse computer that contained a joke involving bestiality and President Barack Obama's mother.

Cebull said the incident stemmed from his dislike of the president, not racism.


(Thursday, 3:00 pm) SAN FRANCISCO - The Public Information Office of the Ninth Circuit Court issued a following statement on Thursday regarding Chief District Judge Richard Cebull of the U.S. District Court for Montana.

Cebull sent a controversial email disparaging President Barack Obama; several groups have called for Cebull to resign since the email became public (see below).

The statement is from Cathy A. Catterson, Appellate Court Executive:

"Chief District Judge Cebull has publicly acknowledged that he has acted inappropriately. 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."

The federal judiciary has established standards and procedures for addressing complaints of judicial misconduct. That information is available to the public from Ninth Circuit's website.


(Noon Thursday) The Montana Human Rights Network is calling for federal judge Richard Cebull of Billings to resign after it was discovered that Cebull sent a controversial email disparaging President Barack Obama.

News of the email has circulated rapidly online, and is now being reported on many national news websites, including the Washington Post and Politico.

The group Common Cause also called for Cebull to resign.

Common Cause CEO Bob Edgar said, "If he has any respect for his office and for ideals of equality and human dignity on which our country was founded, Judge Cebull will step down today. The message he has acknowledged circulating demonstrates a lack of judicial temperament that ought to disqualify him from further service."

The Montana Human Rights Network has posted the following petition on its website:

On February 20, the chief federal judge in Montana, Richard Cebull, forwarded an e-mail to six individuals that included racist and misogynistic content. The content of this email dehumanizes people of color and women. People of color and women appearing before Judge Cebull will have valid concerns about his ability to treat them fairly.

The subject line of the email, which Cebull sent from his official courthouse email address reads: "A MOM'S MEMORY." The forwarded text reads as follows:

"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!'"

This behavior is simply not befitting of a judge. We are asking you to join us in calling for Judge Richard Cebull's resignation.

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