Legal Ethics

9th Circuit Committee Appointed to Investigate Ethics Complaints over Judge's Racist Email


Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has appointed a committee to investigate ethics complaints about a federal judge who admitted he sent an email with a racist joke about President Obama.

Kozinski appointed the five-member committee on March 23 to investigate the conduct of Montana Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull, report the Associated Press and the Great Falls Tribune. By rule, Kozinski appointed himself to the committee along with two circuit court and two district court judges, the Great Falls Tribune says.

Cebull reported himself for ethics review after admitting he forwarded the email about President Obama. It reads: “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 wrote a letter of apology to Obama. He acknowledged to reporters that the email he sent from his office computer was racist, but said he himself is not racist.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Democrats on House Judiciary Committee Seek Hearing re Federal Judge’s Racist Email About Obama”

ABAJournal.com: “Montana Federal Judge Reports Himself for Ethics Review After Admitting He Sent a Racist Email”

ABAJournal.com: “Chief Federal Judge in Montana Says He’s Not a Racist, Apologizes for Obama Email”

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