Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull is in hot water this week after passing along a "joke" email about President Obama that managed to be both racist and imply that his mother had sex with a dog. Judge Cebull didn't think that by forwarding the email on to a few buddies, from his official courthouse email, he could get into trouble, because Judge Cebull… has never used the internet before? Doesn't read the news? Has all the forethought of a caffeinated toddler? It has to be something similarly extreme, because no one in their right mind should think they can get away with shit like this email, which was sent under the subject line "A MOM'S MEMORY":
"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?'" the email joke reads. "His mother replied, 'Don't even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark!'"
What's the opposite of nailed it? Whatever it is, that's what Cebull did here, and for so many reasons. It's racist, first of all. It's wildly offensive to President Obama and his deceased mother. It barely even makes sense, because President Obama knows who his father is and his parents were, in fact, married at one point. And finally, it's a forward email, and people who perpetuate these emails are the worst. They should be pelted with small fruits.
The email eventually found its way to the Great Falls Tribune, and Cebull was called on to explain his behavior. Which classic excuse would he use? Maybe the, "I didn't think anyone would see it, so it's okay"? How about the, "I admit this is racist but I'm not racist"? Or maybe the "I'm sorry if you got offended"? Guys, this is pretty special — he did all three!
"It was not intended by me in any way to become public," Cebull said. "I apologize to anybody who is offended by it, and I can obviously understand why people would be offended…
"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," Cebull said. "I didn't send it as racist, although that's what it is. I sent it out because it's anti-Obama."
Cebull has apologized to the other federal judges in Montana and the President for his behavior and initiated a misconduct complaint against himself. He insists that, despite the nature of the email, prejudice has never influenced his decisions as a judge. No word yet on whether he plans to take some time to figure out how email actually works, however.