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Meet a Legal Staffer: Rebecca Markert

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Name: Rebecca Markert.

Where and when I was born: Green Bay, Wis., 1976.

Education: B.A. in German, international relations and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1998); J.D. from Roger Williams University School of Law, Bristol, R.I., (2008).

Family: I live in Verona (just outside of Madison) with my husband, Mike, and our two children, Dexter, 3, and Audrey, 1.
How I came to work at FFRF: By chance. I was graduating from law school and looking to live in Madison and came across a job posting on a legal jobs board. I thought it would perfectly fit my love for constitutional law, separation of state and church and the ability to work on federal issues.

What I do here: A lot. I’m the senior staff attorney, so in addition to state/church complaints (for issues like crosses on government property, mayoral prayer breakfasts, Good Friday closings, electioneering by churches and religious groups, religion in public schools and holiday displays for the 1st, 2nd and 6th federal appellate circuits), I manage the legal department, assign projects, train attorneys and hire interns and clerks. I put together all the administrative policies and protocols to make FFRF’s legal team work more cohesively and efficiently.

What I like best about it: Working in constitutional law. There are not a lot of lawyers who ever get to work in this area and I get to do it full time. I also love working with FFRF members and seeing how my work directly effects change (hopefully for the better). And the tea. FFRF has some amazing tea.

What sucks about it: Victories that look like losses. My first case involved a nativity scene on the courthouse lawn in 2009 in Manitowoc County, Wis. We were thrown out of court before reaching the merits of the case, but the nativity scene never returned to the courthouse again. During litigation, a church offered to place the crèche on its lawn, where it’s been on display ever since. Victories like that don’t make the news!

I spend a lot of time thinking about: How wonderful life is now that Dexter and Audrey are in the world. And how I’m never going to have the time to see everything in my Netflix queue.

I spend little if any time thinking about: This was a hard question to answer, but NASCAR and soccer come to mind.
My religious upbringing was: Roman Catholic.

My doubts about religion started: I don’t remember an exact time or event, I’ve always been skeptical. My parents never discouraged questioning, or critical thinking for that matter.

Things I like: Hugs from my kids and hearing them laugh, the Green Bay Packers, watching baseball, summers in Madison, the Fourth of July; the National Mall in D.C., going to movies at the theater, Spotted Cow beer from New Glarus Brewing, traveling and Diet Coke. Things I smite: The death penalty, concealed carry and stand your ground laws, the lack of high-speed rail running through Madison, misusing the apostrophe and anything requiring audience participation.

In my golden years: I’ll hopefully be debt-free from my student loans and be able to be a snowbird, spending summers in Madison and winters in Arizona or North Carolina.

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