The chairs of the Congressional Black, Hispanic and Asian Pacific American Caucuses each released statements condemning Montana federal Judge Richard Cebull for, in CBC Chair Emanuel Cleaver’s (D-MO) words, sending a “blatantly racist” email comparing President Obama’s conception to bestiality. Significantly, CHC Chair Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX) strongly suggests that Cebull should no longer be a judge after this incident:
The actions of Chief Judge Cebull promote destructive and hateful attitudes that have no place in civil discourse and show a staggering lack of judgment. Federally appointed judges have a special responsibility to show impartiality so that Americans can maintain their trust in our nation’s legal system. We put laws in place to ensure all Americans are treated without bias and without racist overtones. It is gravely disappointing that Chief Judge Cebull failed to show the qualities his position as a federal official requires and that the American public deserves.
To say that this type of behavior is indefensible and deeply disturbing is really to scratch at the surface of a deeper issue. His defense of his actions reveal that he clearly that he does not even understand that comparing interracial marriage to bestiality is racist and no matter what his intentions were, his actions were racist. To paraphrase Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. laws may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless. Given this display of overt racism, it would appropriate for Chief Judge Cebull to ponder whether his continued service as a federal judge has been irreparably compromised and that another career may be more appropriate for someone with his views and temperament.
Rep. Gonzalez appears to be the first elected official to suggest that Cebull is no longer fit to remain a judge. Given the nature of Cebull’s actions, however, he is unlikely to be the last.
Gonzalez has now outright called for Cebull to resign:
Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) told POLITICO that he “absolutely” believes that Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull should step down from the bench.
“Absolutely. I think it’s time for this judge to do the right thing. I’m not trying to make this bigger than what it is, but there’s no way that he can defend the comments,” Gonzalez said. “I can’t help but think that anyone capable of sending those kinds of emails — you have to wonder what is harbored inside the heart.”
He added, “His time on the bench has run its course.”