To Kill a Mockingbird

What does Atticus mean when he said "...the distaff side of the executive branch of Washington..."

He mentioned this on page 205. In chapter 20. It was his closing statement when he was trying to defend Tom Ribinson in court.

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It is a reference to Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (the Executive branch is the President, and distaff, in this case, means wife). Eleanor Roosevelt often came in for much criticism, especially in the South, for her views on civil rights.