In the law there is a doctrine called res ipsa loquitur. In Latin, it means “the thing speaks for itself.”
Judge Richard Cebull’s action speaks for itself, despite his denial. A joke involving President Obama’s mother implying bestiality is the lowest of the low in terms of racism, misogyny and animal cruelty. Unfortunately, the dogs cannot speak for themselves.
I realize we have a First Amendment right to free speech in this country. However, in terms of professional ethics, judges are held to a higher standard, which involves the avoidance of any sense of impropriety. Cebull has breached his duty of care to act reasonably. Additionally, his perceived ability to be fair, impartial and unbiased in future cases involving any woman or person of color has been severely compromised.
One extremely pornographic alleged joke has caused irreparable harm to the image of the federal judicial system in Montana. Is this joke evidence of the kind of judicial temperament we citizens want and expect from our federal judges in Montana?
I think not. Cebull should do the decent thing and resign.
Mary Catherine Dunphy