Marla Stephens, a candidate running for a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, recently held a fundraiser at La Mestiza in Madison.1 Two of her featured supporters are radio talk show host John Sly Sylvester and disgraced former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager.
Sylvester, whose show airs from 6-10 AM on the Madison station 1670 WTDY, was forced to issue an apology to Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch on January 19, after mockingly claiming that she performed sex acts on Milwaukee radio talk show hosts and used her battle with cancer to gain sympathy and publicity around the state.2 Sylvester has been in hot water before for racially charged comments he made about Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, referring to them as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Tom on the air in 2004.3
Lautenschlager served as Attorney General for the state of Wisconsin from 2003 to 2007. She gained notoriety when she was arrested in a state-owned vehicle in February, 2004 for drunk driving in Dodge County with a blood alcohol content 50 percent above the legal limit.4 It was later found by an ethics board that Lautenschlagers use of a state vehicle for personal use was excessive and required her to reimburse the state for expenses.5
Stephens, formerly with the state public defenders office, is the only candidate for Supreme Court who chose to opt out of public funding through the Impartial Justice Act. In a personal message on Stephens campaign website, she advocates moving more towards an independent, ethical judiciary with a non-partisan advocate who reflects our values.6
If character is judged by the company one keeps, Stephens affiliation with Sylvester and Lautenschlager should trouble Wisconsin voters as they decide the next Justice of the Supreme Court. Voters should demand that Stephens condem Sly’s comments.
Candidates for Justice of the Supreme Court will face off in a primary on February 15 with the general election taking place on April 5.