Comment on Steven Lubet, Reconstructing Atticus Finch

Professor Lubet has joined a growing list of revisionists who question Atticus’s standing as the paragon of lawyerly virtue.1 But Professor Lubet takes revisionism in a distinctly postmodern direction, if not to a radically new level. Atticus’s previous critics have wondered how he could have overlooked, perhaps even condoned, the pervasive racism, sexism, and classism of the Depression-era South. They have even occasionally censured his paternalism toward his pro bono client, the working-class black rape defendant Tom Robinson. But they have never questioned either Tom’s claim of innocence or the propriety of Atticus’s advocacy of that claim. Professor Lubet questions both.