Atticus Finch, in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, states that the courts are the one place in this country in which all people are created equal. He also states that in his opinion, this belief is a reality separate from his--or any one person's--opinion:
...no ideal to me, it is a living, working reality.
For Atticus, the courts really are a place where all can seek justice with equal standing before the law. However, Atticus also knows that it is not really possible for all courts to live up to the standard of equality. He also admits the fallibility of the court system later in the paragraph when he says that the equality in court depends upon the soundness of its jury:
A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up ... in the name of God, do your duty.
Atticus, despite his statement about the position of the court as an institution of equality, knows that the men who will decide Tom Robinson’s fate are not flawless and are subject to the prejudices and hatreds of their time and place. The fact that he invokes God at the end of his summation indicates that he believes it will take more than the usual human judgment to get his client a fair verdict based upon equal justice.
In effect, Atticus is stating that men are equal before the courts but that because of the prejudices of the people who make up the jury, the verdict may not reflect that equality.