Atticus Finch's conduct would have been justified by the bar's conventional norms even if he had known Tom Robinson to be guilty. That fact, however, is not the source of the admiration for him that To Kill a Mockingbird has induced in so many readers. That admiration depends on the clear premise of the novel that Finch plausibly believes that Tom Robinson is innocent. Thus, the bar's invocation of Finch as a sympathetic illustration of its norms is misleading. The ethics of the novel are quite different from those of the bar.
William H. Simon,
Moral Icons: A Comment on Steven Lubet's Reconstructing Atticus Finch,
Mich. L. Rev.
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