The U.S. Courts website posted an update this morning that Judge Richard Cebull, Chief U.S. District Judge for Montana, will take senior status in March of 2013. Cebull is currently the subject of a misconduct review by the Judicial Council of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Senior status is a form of semi-retirement where a judge vacates his or her seat and continues to hear some cases, but typically not a full caseload. The status provides a full salary for part-time work.
People For the American Way president Michael Keegan released the following statement:
“Judge Cebull should resign or retire, not take senior status. He used his official email account to send an incredibly disgusting and racist email. When asked why, he said he sent it because he opposes the President.
“Americans expect the courts to be fair, impartial, and open to all. Cebull clearly demonstrated that he does not have the temperament to serve as a federal judge, period.
“Cebull may hope that taking senior status before the misconduct review concludes will help him avoid sanction. But he should be held accountable by the 9th Circuit regardless of his status.
“Taking senior status is a half-measure that allows Cebull to continue hearing cases. That’s not appropriate. He should resign or retire immediately.”
People For the American Way today urged presidential candidate Mitt Romney to rebuke longtime NRA board member Ted Nugent for remarks he made at the NRA annual convention on Saturday. Nugent, who endorsed Romney in early March, called on NRA members to vote for Romney and denounced the “vile, evil, America-hating” Obama administration. He finished his remarks with a call to cut off the heads of Democrats this fall: “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”
Nugent’s comments, which were first reported by People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch, came one day after Romney himself addressed the convention. Nugent’s endorsement was touted by Tagg Romney in early March.
“We don’t expect moderation from Ted Nugent,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “But we do expect a major presidential candidate like Mitt Romney to rebuke a prominent supporter for spewing hate-filled and violent rhetoric against the President of the United States.”
“This is far from the first time that Nugent has advocated violence against his political adversaries. Mitt Romney should clearly and loudly reject Nugent’s endorsement and rebuke his inflammatory comments.”
A new People For the American Way Right Wing Watch: In Focus report identifies the techniques used by Religious Right leaders to portray themselves as victims of an assault on religious liberty. The report, The Mythical Martyrdom of Jerry Boykin, examines the anti-Muslim extremism of Retired Lt. Gen. Boykin that derailed an offer to speak at West Point Military Academy, as well as the tactics he employs to legitimize his own religious and political agenda.
“Lt. Gen. Boykin’s claim that Muslims have no First Amendment rights and that the United States is at war with Islam are contrary to basic American values,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “His attacks against Muslims are so extreme he was even publicly rebuked by President George W. Bush. It is ironic that a man who so fundamentally misunderstands our Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of worship to all Americans is playing the victim of religious oppression. In reality, Boykin is just a part of the far-right effort to use the banner of religious freedom as cover for spreading fear and intolerance.”
The report, available here, explores five propaganda techniques employed by the religious right to obfuscate issues and recast their objection to specific policies as an attack on the religious liberty of Christians, including:
“Right-wing activists and even some elected officials are using religious liberty as an excuse to denigrate others’ beliefs and hijack the policymaking process,” continued Keegan. “Calling out those who spread intolerance to further their own political agenda will help us all live up to the ideals enshrined in the First Amendment.”
Bryan Fischer is an extreme Religious Right commentator, spokesman for the American Family Association and talk-show host. He specializes in serving up a daily dose of vitriolic hate against gays and lesbians, non-Christians, progressives and virtually anyone who disagrees with his fanatical interpretation of the Constitution and the Bible.
From: Marge Baker, Executive Vice President, People For the American Way
To: Interested Parties
Date: March 31, 2011
Re: Trent Franks Beyond the Pale: Representing the Extremist Wing of the Republican Party