What role did Mr. Taylor play in the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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During the actual trial of Tom Robinson, Mr. Taylor is the presiding judge.  More important to the novel though, is not the fact that he is the judge, but rather the type of judge John Taylor is.  He has a reputation for being a less formal judge and more of a man's man.  For example, chewing tobacco is a habit of his.  Judge John Taylor also appoints Atticus Finch to preside over the Robinson case.  This is odd, since Maxwell Green usually gets the court-appointed defense cases.  Judge Taylor did this because he knows that Atticus Finch is about the only lawyer around that has a chance at acquitting Tom Robinson.  This action shows the reader that Judge Taylor is not a racist or someone that is quick to judge guilt based on skin color like so many other characters are in the novel.