Code of Silence: Sexual Misconduct by Federal Judges, the Secret System That Protects Them, and the Women Who Blew the Whistle

Lise Olsen. Beacon, $28.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-8070-0867-6
Journalist Olsen debuts with a dismaying and deeply reported exposé of how the U.S. federal court system enables eccentric and abusive behavior by judges who are appointed for life and can only be removed by congressional impeachment. Olsen centers the narrative on Cathy McBroom, a case manager in Galveston, Tex., who endured years of sexual harassment and assault by her boss, U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent, before lodging the complaint that led to his impeachment, resignation, and imprisonment in 2009. (He’s one of only 15 federal judges to be impeached in more than 200 years.) Fearful of losing her job and violating the oath she’d taken to protect court secrets, McBroom compartmentalized the abuse and tried to avoid being alone with Kent. Though she eventually confided in a colleague who was also being harassed, the atmosphere of abuse divided rather than united the women. Olsen lucidly describes the history and structure of the federal court system, weaves in accusations made against former Ninth Circuit judge Alex Kozinski and other federal jurists; and documents reformers’ calls for enhanced whistleblower protections and a “stronger central mechanism” to handle complaints. This is an enraging and eye-opening account of corruption and abuse within the halls of justice. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/26/2021
Release date: 10/12/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-8070-0899-7
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