Douglas County is a small border county of 44,000 people. Across the bridge from the county seat in Superior is the big city of Duluth, Minn. Justice here means two judges and a judicial court commissioner.
This means Rebecca Lovejoy is busy.
Lovejoy is the family court, juvenile court and circuit court commissioner. She also handles all civil and criminal cases in their initial phases. Traffic court? Lovejoy. Restraining orders? Lovejoy. Small claims less than $10,000?
Lovejoy. Courthouse wedding? Lovejoy.
Good thing Lovejoy is the kind of person who’d come in on a Sunday to be prepared for work on Monday, said Circuit Court Judge Kelly Thimm, who previously worked with Lovejoy in the district attorney’s office.
“Even though Rebecca was only part time and being paid for 20 hours per week in the DA’s office, she came in religiously every Sunday to prepare herself for the next week in the DA’s office,” Thimm recalled.
Raised in Superior, Lovejoy graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 1990, and from Marquette University Law School in 1993. She’s no stranger to variety, as her career has spanned private practice, nonprofit (as a staff attorney for a nonprofit organization focused on domestic abuse victims) and part-time stints as assistant corporation counsel for Douglas County, district attorney, and UW-Superior university instructor. She also worked as a hearing officer for the Superior public schools.
Not coming from a legal background, Lovejoy’s curiosity, diligence and comfort with judgment set a course for the law that was nurtured by her professors, she said.
“I always like things to be right and I wasn’t afraid to argue,” Lovejoy said. “I was always judgmental, which doesn’t always sound like a good thing.”
Her passion for service, and human and animal rights carried forth into her drive for justice, which now means maintaining impartial neutrality as a commissioner.
“Justice for the most vulnerable is justice for us all,” Lovejoy said. “Law is a wonderful venue for people who care about causes.”
In her home life, her passion for animal rescue has led to three dogs and a cat, with occasional drop-ins, Lovejoy said.
She has been several “firsts,” from the first UW-Superior graduate to complete a Washington, D.C., political internship to the first woman to serve in the Douglas County judiciary.
“Rebecca is a tireless worker who is always prepared,” Thimm said. “We are very fortunate to have such a competent, hard-working and justice-seeking court commissioner.”