Liz Cheney Brings Her Constitutional Integrity to UVA Center for Politics
“I am delighted to be joining the UVA Center for Politics as a Professor of Practice. Preserving our constitutional republic is the most important work of our time, and our nation’s young people will play a crucial role in this effort. I look forward to working with students and colleagues at the Center to advance the important work they and others at the University of Virginia are doing to improve the health of democracy here and around the world.” -Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)
Former Rep. Liz Cheney was known to many before the MAGA attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, as chairman of the Republican Conference, breaking through the glass ceiling to make her the third-ranking Republican in leadership for the U.S. House and the highest-ranking Republican woman in the history of the House. She was one of the most conservative members within the caucus, growing up in a conservative family where her dad had served in various Republican leadership positions including vice president in the administration of President George W. Bush.
However, when Republican President Donald Trump falsely claimed in 2020 that he had won the election and convinced Republicans to fall in behind him to chase the lie, Cheney, who believed the election had been fair and honest, did not follow other GOP electeds, and was one of only ten Republicans who voted to impeach. For that, her leadership position was stripped by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and members of the caucus endorsed the opponent in her 2022 reelection.
When President Trump falsely claimed that the election was stolen, Cheney repeatedly called on him to respect the rulings of the courts and his oath of office, and to publicly support the peaceful transfer of power:
When the President instead rejected the lawful, certified outcome of the election, [Cheney] broke with most in her party, urged fidelity to the Constitution, and stood her ground with honor and conviction. She stood against the lawlessness and violence of January 6th, and voted to impeach President Trump, concluding: “The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing.”
Cheney received numerous death threats after casting her vote in favor of impeachment, and yet refused to take the politically expedient course that most of her party embraced. Because she would not remain silent or ignore the events of January 6th, Cheney’s congressional colleagues stripped her of her leadership position in the GOP caucus.
[Liz Cheney] served as the Vice Chair of the Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, and remains a consistent and courageous voice in defense of democracy.
When the announcement came out last week that Ms. Cheney was joining the University of Virginia Center for Politics, it was refreshing and welcome news. My phone lit up from others who were also excited to hear that the woman who was willing to sacrifice her Congressional seat to preserve democracy and stand behind the constitution was bringing her determination, knowledge, and passion to Virginia.
Perhaps Dr. Larry Sabato, director of the UVa Center for Politics, said it best: “With democracy under fire in this country and elsewhere around the world, Liz Cheney serves as a model of political courage and leadership. Liz will send a compelling message to students about integrity. She’s a true profile in courage, and she was willing to pay the price for her principles — and democracy itself.”
UVa issued a statement that included this:
UVA President Jim Ryan welcomed the appointment, stating, “Our students will have an incredible opportunity to learn from Liz Cheney, who has fiercely defended democracy as part of a distinguished career. I’m delighted that she has chosen the University of Virginia and the Center for Politics as a next step, and I very much look forward to working with her.”
Over the course of her tenure as a Professor of Practice, Cheney will participate in university-wide lectures, serve as a guest lecturer in student seminars with Professor Sabato and other Center faculty, contribute to Center for Politics research, and participate in other University and community events to be announced at a future date.
Ms. Cheney will immediately begin at the Center for Politics and will serve through the conclusion of the 2023 fall semester with an option at that time to renew.
Often when a door closes, a window opens. Rep. Cheney lost her reelection in Wyoming but she won the respect and admiration of those who truly care about holding our democracy intact. I’m happy to hear she landed over the mountain in Cville and look forward to what Larry Sabato plans with her in the upcoming months.