Recently, Montana’s chief federal judge admitted to forwarding an email from his court email account that included a racist “joke” involving bestiality and President Barack Obama's mother. Judge Richard Cebull has since issued a formal apology to President Obama and has asked for a formal judicial review of his actions. Earlier this week, two members of the House Judiciary called for a hearing to examine the judge’s conduct. Representatives John Conyers of Michigan and Steve Cohen of Tennessee told Committee Chairman Lamar Smith in their letter that the committee has a duty to investigate the potential consequences of Judge Richard Cebull’s email. “At a minimum, forwarding this email illustrates poor judgment and of conduct that was unbecoming of a federal judge,” they wrote. “More troubling, however, is the possibility that public disclosure of the judge’s conduct may not only undermine the public’s view of his personal credibility and impartiality as a judge, but also the integrity of the ... federal judiciary.”
More than 70 percent of President Obama's confirmed judicial nominees during his first two years were "non-traditional," or nominees who were not white males. That far exceeds the percentages in the two-term administrations of Bill Clinton (48.1 %) and George W. Bush (32.9 %), according to Sheldon Goldman, author of the authoritative book Picking Federal Judges. "It is an absolutely remarkable diversity achievement," said Goldman, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Are Judge Cebull’s actions an isolated incident or an indication that we still have a long way to go with regard to diversity efforts in the legal profession?