The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' chief judge has ordered an investigation of an email sent by a Montana federal judge containing a racist joke about President Barack Obama.
Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit appointed a special judicial committee to investigate the alleged misconduct by Montana Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull, who last month admitted to forwarding an email that contained a racist joke about the president.
The email, sent in February and obtained by the Great Falls Tribune in March, contained a joke that compared African Americans to dogs and implied that Obama's mother had sex with animals. Cebull sent the message from his official courthouse email to seven recipients.
The judge claimed that he is not racist, but forwarded the email because he is "not a fan" of Obama. However, the message sparked a national firestorm, with many groups demanding that Cebull resign from his post.
Cebull later sent a letter of apology to the president. "I accept full responsibility," he wrote. "I have no one to blame but myself."
Kozinski appointed a five-person committee on March 23 to look into the judicial complaint, which was initiated by Cebull himself after the message was published.