For Immediate Release Common Cause Urges U.S. Judge Richard Cebull to resign

Posted on March 1, 2012

Montana Jurist Circulated Racist "Joke" About President Obama

Common Cause called today for the resignation of Montana's chief federal judge, Richard Cebull, in the wake of his admission that he circulated a highly offensive racist email "joke" concerning President Obama.

"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," said Bob Edgar, president and CEO of the non-profit government watchdog group. "The message he has acknowledged circulating demonstrates a lack of judicial temperament that ought to disqualify him from further service."

Edgar suggested that Cebull take time to study Canon 2 of the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, a set of ethical standards published by the U.S. Judicial Conference to guide federal district and appeals court judges. It calls on judges to "act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary." He should also study Canon 5, which calls on judges to refrain from political activity, Edgar added.

"When Judge Cebull circulated this message, he expressed hope to recipients that it 'touches your heart like it did mine,'" Edgar said. "Now he wants us to believe he was motivated by his political disagreements with the President. In either case, in expressing such sentiments he has demonstrated his unfitness for the bench."

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest, and accountable government that works for the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard.

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Ethics

Tags: Judicial Ethics

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