Remembering and Honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Posted Sep 19, 2020, by Veronica Coptis

The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

We all just heard the news that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away tonight. It is such a sad day when the passing of someone so important – someone whose life’s work affords women the right to do the work that they choose, and LGBTQ couples the right to marry as they choose – cannot be spent in mourning or celebration. We knew that the issue of the 2020 election cycle would be defending our democracy, but little could we have expected the fight to become this crucial. In crucial times, we put aside our sadness and move swiftly to protect those most vulnerable. 

We know to many of you she was an idol, a symbol of doors that were opened for you, and want to share this personal statement from our Campaign Director, Sarah Martik, who felt this way about Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

“I have been in denial that Ruth Bader Ginsburg would ever pass away. When my phone lit up with a notification of RBG’s passing, I thought, “This can’t be right.” She’s been an icon for me since I was a little girl – a statement I know so many other girls can echo.  She was a trailblazer in her own right, someone who defied stereotypes and challenged the status quo for how our country treated women, even as her work as a brilliant legal mind chipped away at decades of patriarchal policies and precedents. One of my favorite quotes of hers is something I think about often in our environmental justice work: asked “You won’t settle for putting Susan B Anthony on the new dollar, then?” RBG responded, “We won’t settle for tokens.” She understood that our rights to live equally are too important to settle for pandering, smoke and mirrors.” 

Four years ago, when Antonin Scalia passed away (over 200 days before the election) and then-President Barack Obama began the process of nominating his replacement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The Senate will observe the ‘Biden Rule’ so that the American people have a voice in this momentous decision.” In 2016, the Senate did not consider the nomination of Merrick Garland, leaving a vacancy that was filled by Neil Gorsuch, nominated by President Trump. 

We call on the Senate to continue to observe the “Biden Rule” so that all Americans have the opportunity to use their voices on November 3, providing critical input on this life-long nomination. As a member of the Center for Popular Democracy, we encourage our members to join with the millions of CPD members across the country in preparing to fight any nominee before the results of the November 3 election are in. Sign up here to get information about ways to take action.

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg


  • Veronica Coptis

    Veronica Coptis joined the CCJ staff in March 2013 as a Community Organizer and is now serving as the Executive Director. She grew up in western Greene County near the Bailey Mine Complex and currently lives in the eastern part of the county. Before joining the CCJ staff, Veronica served on the Board of Directors for CCJ and organized with Mountain Watershed Association. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia University. She enjoys hiking and geocaching at Ryerson State Park and other areas around Greene County with her husband and daughters. Read more about Veronica in a New Yorker Magazine profile at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/03/the-future-of-coal-country. Contact Veronica at veronica@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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