1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $33.60

Buy for $33.60

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2021 IRE Book Award

Winner of the 2022 Texas Institute of Letters Carr P. Collins Award for Best Book of Nonfiction

In the age of #MeToo, learn how brave whistleblowers have dared to lift the federal court’s veil of secrecy to expose powerful judges who appear to defy laws they have sworn to uphold

Code of Silence tells the story of federal court employee Cathy McBroom, who had to flee her job as a case manager in Galveston, Texas, after enduring years of sexual harassment and assault by her boss—US District Judge Samuel Kent. Following a decade of firsthand reporting at the Houston Chronicle, investigative reporter Lise Olsen charts McBroom’s assault and the aftermath, when McBroom was thrust into the role of whistleblower to denounce a federal judge.

What Olsen discovered by investigating McBroom’s story and other federal judicial misconduct matters nationwide was shocking. With the help of other federal judges, Kent was being protected by a secretive court system that has long tolerated or ignored complaints about corruption, sexism, and sexual misconduct—enabling him to remain in office for years. Other powerful judges accused of judicial misconduct were never investigated and remain in power or retired with full pay, such as US Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski and Kozinski’s mentee, Brett Kavanaugh. 

McBroom’s ultimate triumph is a rare story of redemption and victory as Judge Kent became the first and only federal judge to be impeached for sexual misconduct. Olsen also weaves in narratives of other brave women across the country who, at great personal risk, have reported federal judges to reveal how sexual harassment and assault occur elsewhere inside the federal court system. The accounts of the women and their allies who are still fighting for reforms are moving, intimate, and inspiring—including whistleblowers and law professors like Leah Litman, Emily Murphy, and novelist Heidi Bond, who emerged to denounce Kozinski in 2017. A larger group of women—and men—banded together to form a group called Law Clerks for Accountability, which is continuing to push for more reforms to the courts’ secretive complaint review system. 

Code of Silence also reveals the role the press plays in holding systems of power in check. Kent would not have been charged had it not been for Olsen’s reporting and the Houston Chronicle’s commitment to the story.

©2021 Lise Olsen (P)2021 Beacon Press

Critic Reviews

“Olsen describes a serious oversight problem with vigor and credibility . . . A well-documented exposé of a broken system for policing errant federal judges.” —Kirkus Reviews

 “A dismaying and deeply reported exposé . . . This is an enraging and eye-opening account of corruption and abuse within the halls of justice.” —Publishers Weekly 

“A beautifully written, disturbing-as-hell example of how the American experiment fails when it lets men set themselves up as kings.” —Houston Chronicle

What listeners say about Code of Silence

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    11
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great info, superb storytelling

This is important info about the federal judiciary and the prevalent sexism. The lack of a remedy for claimants against justices who are promoted is shameful. The stories were powerful.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An intriguing account of life behind the bench

Shocking as well as uplifting - amazing illustration of judicial hyprocracy by the few women who dared to speak out