PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  A hearing took place today on whether or not Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin should be suspended while investigated on charges he violated judicial conduct rules.

The charges stem from inappropriate email exchanges described as containing off-color jokes and, in some cases, alleged to be sexist, racist or otherwise offensive.

Justice Michael Eakin got emotional as he took the stand during the 5-hour hearing, arguing the emails- sent and received on a Yahoo account, under a fake name- may have been in bad taste, but were not criminal.

He apologized for the emails he was responsible for, saying they were never meant to be public; instead locker room talk among a small group of friends.

He says anyone who questions whether he can do his job and be impartial need only look at the stacks of legal opinions he’s been involved with over the past 20 years.

But lawyers for the Judicial Conduct Board tell the three-judge panel of the Court of Judicial Discipline, regardless of what Justice Eakin thinks or feels, he must be suspended during the investigation; not as a punishment, but instead to preserve the integrity of the judiciary.

No word when a ruling will be issued, but a full hearing on the charges is expected in February.