Federal Judge Richard F. Cebull Apologizes for Racist 'Dog' Joke About Barack Obama

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Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull's recent comments suggest that being a judge and having good judgment are two completely different things.

An e-mail forwarded to other chief judges by this interpreter of the law, obtained by the Great Falls Tribune on Wednesday, contains a crude joke aimed at President Barack Obama -- in which interracial marriage is compared to bestiality.

Earlier this morning, Cebullwrote an apology letter to Obama, accepting full responsibility and awkwardly concluding with: "Honestly, I don't know what else to say."

The notorious e-mail, titled with the seemingly innocuous subject line "A MOM'S MEMORY," was allegedly sent because he is "anti-Obama," not racist. Check out the text of the e-mail after the jump and decide for yourself.

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!

Now, the joke's tone kind of speaks for itself.

But, if you do care to deconstruct a bit, it clearly insinuates that young Barack's father could have been a dog, and that this somehow explains why he is black.

That the judge, appointed by George W. Bush in 2001, says that the joke is "a bit touching" and "hope it touches your heart like it did mine" is obviously cause for concern.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other groups in erupted into an uproar over the e-mail.

Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez of Texas, head of the Caucus, gawked at the comparison between interracial marriage and beastiality and called for Cebull's resignation; Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver of the Congressional Black Caucus said it was "beyond disrespectful and ignorant."

Congresswoman Judy Chu of the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus said: "An apology alone is not acceptable."

Judge Cebull's response: I can "understand why people would be offended."

In all likelihood, a complaint will be filed against Cebull for the e-mail and Shane Vanatta, of the State Bar of Montana, told the enraged where to file one in a statement on Thursday.

The White House hasn't said anything about the apology, but Obama has been busy stumping for donations in New York City.

It's still unclear what will happen to the judge from Montana. But whoever files a complaint has more than enough evidence at his or her disposal.

Follow John Surico at @JSuricz


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24 comments
David York Atlanta
David York Atlanta

Well-known animal activist in Atlanta and owner of the award winning doggie daycare and pet hotel, Barking Hound Village, David York, is behind this new venture. Well, actually, he credits the idea to the memory of his late companion Miss Sophie York. Sadly, she is no longer with us, but her memory will live on in Sophie’s Uptown.

C M Crehore
C M Crehore

This doesn't call for an apology, it calls for resignation. To put it in terms the judge might understand, there's misnomeaner stupid and felony stupid. THIS IS FELONY STUPID

Wren
Wren

Of course this judge evidenced both racism and execrable impropriety and should be removed from the bench.  But his outright contempt for the President is what hurts me the most, because it shows how far this country has left civil discourse behind.  I have heartily disliked and heartily disagreed with every Republican president who has held office during my lifetime.  But I could not imagine forwarding such an email about Ronald Reagan, George Bush, or W.  And I am not a Federal judge. 

Weeks2000
Weeks2000

Why isn'tthere more of an outcry about this judge's actions? This man insulted the presidentof the United States and his mother. Moreover, a judge displaying such a lackof judgment in spreading such a vile joke, which to most people

points to racism, should not be allowed serveon any bench, least of all a federal one. I strongly believe that anyone withany sense of decency  in them, (Republicanor Democrat) should demand his resignation. This continuous demeaning of thepresident and the office has got to stop, and perhaps if Judge Cebull was pressuredto resign, this would send a message that such disrespect for the president ofthe United States and or the office will not be tolerated!  

 

Radio Paul
Radio Paul

Do I need say if it was an Anti Obama remark i should have been on one or more of his policies. Yet it was a comment directly targeting his skin color.

Radio Paul
Radio Paul

I would hate to be a black person facing justice in his courtroom.

Deasmhumhan
Deasmhumhan

Was this email forwarded from any computer or through any ISP paid for in any part by tax dollars? Has the judge's work computer been taken for audit? Has his record of email forwarding been looked at?

Patriot_of_1776
Patriot_of_1776

The "Barking Dog Syndrome" has, since the the early 1800s, referred to a President who has some doubts about winning a second term in the White House. It goes as far back as John Adams and goes through to George H.W. Bush. Twelve of the past 43 Presidents were, by some, considered to be barking dogs.The quip's reference to "lucky you don't bark like a dog" is just as likely to be something a Chief U.S. District Court Judge might attribute to any doubts which Barack might have about winning a second term. We need to stop the racial card from becoming the lowest common denominator when we cast allegations at anyone. Until it's proven that Cebull was referring to President Obama's race and not to whatever his feelings are about President Obama's success in the next election we all need to back off. In this great nation we are all innocent until proven guilty.

burning_plastic
burning_plastic

The "joke" doesn't "clearly insinuates that young Barack's father could have been a dog, and that this somehow explains why he is black" but it does imply that a white woman that had sex with a black man would also have sex with dogs. This is actually more offensive, in my opinion. It's sad that race is an issue because ignorant people like this judge deflect attention from the real issues. I don't care for Obama but next to men like this he seems like shining example of everything we could hope for him to be.Why wouldn't a judge be more concerned about the unconstitutional laws that Obama has signed? I guess you can't really go there if you are a Republican since they were in charge when the Constitution was put into the shredder. 

Cjones5077
Cjones5077

It is imperative that people like "Judge Cebull" be removed from the bench.  How can anyone of ethic orgin expect to obtain fairmess in his court.  It is not important whether or not you support President Obama but it is important to RESPECT the office to which he was ELECTED.

jimzien
jimzien

Can we all agree that good judgement constitutes a fundamental qualification for the role of U.S. District Chief Judge? Well then, in the language of the courts, "res ipsa loquitur" -- http://dictionary.law.com/Defa...

ArpadtheMagyar
ArpadtheMagyar

I got a joke..What would you call the Simpsons if the were black?Niggers!

ArpadtheMagyar
ArpadtheMagyar

I would have to be black under any circunstances!

Jim
Jim

 That's ridiculous.

Those Maggots at the Airport
Those Maggots at the Airport

Well, it's certainly been my experience that forwarded e-mails are nuanced and well-thought out. Thanks for the semantics lesson, Paul Revere. I'm sure you're right on the money.

burning_plastic
burning_plastic

Make the part about "from what I can remember about that party" make sense. Maybe she means the Democratic Party?

I found a story from last year (by googling "barking dog politics") that did call Obama a barking dog. Jokes are about making connections, and it's very possible that the idea of Obama as barking dog may have inspired someone. But what did it inspire in them? A joke about bestiality that compares or equates bestiality with interracial sex.and it the story linked to...“The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan,” the judge told the publication. “I didn’t send it as racist, although that’s what it is. I sent it out because it’s anti-Obama.”

Weeks2000
Weeks2000

 if you weren't offended by this joke, than I suggest that you have the same racist characteristics as this judge. Moreover, if I turn the joke back on you...that is, the joke was maybe referring to your mother and not Obama's, is this still funny?

bobx
bobx

It was not a joke.  It was not funny.

JustSayin411
JustSayin411

 It is true. Obviously a person in an interracial relationship will receive an unfair trial in his court. His past decisions need to be looked into for bias as well. Instead of spying on innocent Muslims, the NYPD should investigate Judge Cebull for the origin of his beliefs, if he is a member of white supremacist organizations--how does someone with such wacky beliefs rule according to law objectively?

1234
1234

Wait it wasn't a joke? So your saying Obamas dad is REALLY a dog?? lol.

Grow up, it was a joke.

Weeks2000
Weeks2000

You grow up! if you weren't offended by this joke, than I suggest that you have the same racist characteristics as this judge. Moreover, I also recommend that you LOL if I turn the joke back on you...that is, the joke was maybe referring to your mother and not Obama's. Now that is really funny, lol!

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