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Before the trial begins, Scout gets separated from Jem and waits for him while she is standing near what is called the Idler's Club,
. . .a group of white-shirted, khaki-trousered, suspendered old men who had spent their lives doing nothing and passed their twilight days doing same on pine benches under the live oaks on the square. Attentive critics of courthouse business, Atticus said they knew as much law as the Chief Justice, from long years of observation.
Scout overhears two of the gentlemen discussing Tom Robinson, and one of the men comments that Atticus was appointed to defend Robinson by the court, that he had no choice. Scout is confused, because Atticus had not mentioned that, and she wonders why. It would have come in handy as a way to defend him, and herself, and Jem, from townspeople's snarky comments about Atticus and the Robinson trial. The fact that he was assigned by the court "equaled fewer fights and less fussing". She is further confused by the other man's response that ". . .Atticus aims to defend him. That's what I don't like about it." She is too young to understand what Jem has only begun to comprehend, that most of the townspeople would agree that even if Atticus had no choice but to represent Robinson, that Robinson, being black, wasn't actually entitled to an authentic legal defense.
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