WASHINGTON (March 5, 2012) — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) strongly condemns Chief Judge Richard Cebull of the U.S. District Court for Montana for sending a racist email from his chambers relating to President Obama, which equated interracial relationships with bestiality. Organizations throughout the nation, including the Congressional Tri-Caucus, which includes the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, have expressed outrage at Judge Cebull’s conduct, and many have called for his resignation.
“We are appalled by Judge Cebull’s email and would urge that at minimum, he resign from his position as Chief Judge,” said Nimesh M. Patel, president of NAPABA. “As lawyers and leaders in the legal profession, and specifically as advocates for justice, equity, and the value of diversity in the profession, we cannot ignore conduct that calls into question the integrity of the courts and makes the public question whether or not they will be treated without bias in the courtroom.”
Chief Judge Cebull has admitted that the email he sent was inappropriate and he has sent a letter of apology to President Obama. He has also requested that the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit conduct a judicial misconduct review of his conduct. The Ninth Circuit’s statement regarding Judge Cebull notes that, “The Judicial Council is expected to act expeditiously in investigating and resolving this matter.” NAPABA strongly calls for disciplinary measures that sufficiently reflect the potential harm to judicial integrity and impartiality.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 62 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.