Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is in the limelight today for condemning the racist comment made by a state prosecutor while cross-examining a black defendant.
Defendant Charles Calhoun claimed he'd not known about his friend's cocaine purchase during a road trip. United States Attorney Sam L. Ponder wasn't buying that, however, and suggested that Calhoun, himself an African-American, should have guessed drugs were being purchased based on his friend's race:
You've got African-Americans, you've got Hispanics, you've got a bag full of money. Does that tell you - a light bulb doesn't go off in your head and say, this is a drug deal?
Calhoun appealed on the grounds that the prosecutor "violated his constitutional rights by the question," Yahoo reports. He took his appeal as far as the Supreme Court, who dismissed the case on procedural grounds, but also issued a statement calling out the prosecutor's remark.
Sotomayor wrote to "dispel any doubt" whether the Court's dismissal of the case "should be understood to signal our tolerance of a federal prosecutor's racially charged remark."
It is deeply disappointing to see a representative of the United States resort to this basic tactic more than a decade into the 21st century...We expect the government to seek justice, not fan the flames of fear and prejudice.
She added, "I hope never to see a case like this again."