Christopher Shelton" />
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Saturday, September 23, 2023


Cebull should have known better

At 3:42 p.m. on Feb. 20, Montana U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull drank the vitriol-based hemlock that may kill his career in the federal court system. He forwarded an email addressed to six of his “old buddies.”

“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!’”

Mind you, this was forwarded from his work email. This was not a private message.

Whether you are part of a minority or have a different lifestyle, life in America reminds a person from time to time that he or she is different.

Cebull’s email suggests that President Barack Obama’s father, of African decent, is subhuman. It implies that Obama was the result of a late-night drunken alliance.

Obama’s parents were married at the time of his birth.

This email defines the type of behavior a federal judge should not engage in at work. The language is offensive — no matter the race, color or creed to which a person belongs. But given America’s history of racism against African Americans, it especially stings.

He attempted to atone by issuing an apology stating, “I sincerely and profusely apologize to you and your family for the email I forwarded. I accept full responsibility; I have no one to blame but myself. I can assure you that such action on my part will never happen again. I have requested that the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit review this matter. Honestly, I don’t know what else I can do. Please forgive me and, again, my most sincere apologies.”

It is not fair to categorically call Cebull a racist; we have all done and said stupid things. However, this incident means his past and future decisions deserve a closer look. There is a level of respect that the Oval Office deserves, even if you disagree with the executive branch.

It was apparent when Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio created the investigative team that launched a six-month investigation into the verification of Obama’s birth certificate that respect for Obama’s presidency would be hard to come by.

Arpaio said in a press conference, “My investigators believe that the long-form birth certificate was manufactured electronically and that it did not originate in a paper format as claimed by the White House.”

He supplied no evidence to substantiate his claims. It is obvious that he is pandering to a certain demographic of individuals in Arizona in order to be re-elected.

It all stems back to Obama’s roots. No one has asked Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum to provide a birth certificate or prove they are Americans or Christians, while critics have often questioned Obama’s nationality and faith. Why else would his birth certificate be an issue?

Some people still have a problem with Obama because of his race. Some still believe that his presidency is illegitimate no matter what he does; that will never change.

It is unfortunate, but true. Many citizens believed that American exceptionalism had been fulfilled and that the country was past concerns regarding race when Obama was elected in 2008.

Unfortunately we have realized that the latter is not true and we still have a long way to go.

Christopher Shelton is a journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected].

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