Former U.S. Senator Long Considered Conservative ‘Legend’ Dies After Fall


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A former senator who was seen as a beacon of conservatism during his tenure has passed away.

Former New York Sen. James L. Buckley, who successfully campaigned to represent New York in the United States Senate in 1970, has died at the age of 100, The New York Post reported.

The outlet added:

Buckley’s death in a Washington, DC, hospital was the result of complications from a fall, his nephew, author and political satirist Christopher Buckley, told the New York Times Friday.  

NYC native Buckley, the older brother of National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr., catapulted to national fame with his victory for the Conservative Party in the three-way Senate race between Republican incumbent Charles Goodell — who had been appointed by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to serve out the term of the assassinated Robert F. Kennedy — and Democrat Richard Ottinger.

Buckley, who had sought to challenge Goodell for the GOP line but was rejected by state party officials, hammered both the Republican and the Democrat for their dovish stances on the Vietnam War. With the tacit backing of President Richard Nixon, Buckley won the election with just 38.8% of the vote.


“It is with great sorrow that the Conservative Party marks the passing of former U.S. Senator James Buckley. The life and accomplishments of James Buckley will forever be linked with the Conservative Party. In 1970, he made history, when he was elected to the Senate solely on the Conservative Party line; we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude,” The Conservative Party of New York said in a press release.

“In fact, all New Yorkers and the nation has lost a man who spent most of his long life in service to his country.

“James Buckley is the only American to hold senior roles in all three branches of government,” it said.

“From World War II naval service through a term in the US Senate, senior roles in the Reagan Administration, and years on the Federal Bench, James Buckley’s legacy will be praised and studied for generations to come. A member of a family who played a key role in forming the modern conservative movement, James Buckley was a ‘man for all seasons.’ He will be greatly missed,” the release noted further.

“Senator James Buckley was a conservative beacon for Republicans in New York, ushering in the modern conservative movement that I am honored to be part of today. We are sending our prayers to his loved ones as they mourn the loss of a loving friend and family man as well as the conservative giant we came to know,” New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik said.

“Throughout his life, Senator Buckley fiercely defended the principles of the US Constitution and the American people he served. On behalf of New York, we are forever indebted to him for his service, and we will continue to honor his memory by fighting for the conservative movement he built in New York and in Congress,” she said.

“It is with the deepest sorrow that I learn of the passing of my Uncle Jim. James Buckley was an extraordinary man, and anyone who ever spent a few minutes time with him will attest to this. He was an outstanding role model, a warm, thoughtful Christian who served his country with honor and loved his family intensely. He is reunited now in Paradise with his wife Ann, the love of his life, and that is good. My prayers are with his children and grandchildren,” Brent Bozell, the president of the Media Research Center, said.


Heritage Foundation founder Ed Feulner also commented on the death of the former senator.

“Jim Buckley devoted his life to defending constitutional principles of liberty, prosperity, and civil society. From the U.S. Senate to key posts in the Reagan administration to the federal bench, for 40 years, he shaped conservatives’ advances in all three branches of the federal government,” he said.

“In 2010, The Heritage Foundation presented him with our highest honor, the Clare Boothe Luce Award, in recognition of his dedication to the conservative movement. He was 87 at the time.

“Characteristically, Judge Buckley once said he made his most memorable contribution to American politics in 1974, when he defended liberty in taking the issue of campaign finance ‘reform’ to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Feulner added.


“In Buckley v. Valeo, he challenged the constitutionality of a cap on individual contributions to political campaigns. Two years later, the high court struck down significant parts of the Federal Election Campaign Act and established strict limits on the government’s ability to regulate Americans’ political activity,” Feulner continued.

“Also characteristically, Judge Buckley’s book “Freedom at Risk” didn’t just collect essays and speeches spanning his 40 years in politics. It also laid out his specific proposals to preserve America’s constitutional government,” he noted further.

“Heritage got it right in our Luce Award citation. We noted that as a military officer, entrepreneur, statesman, legislator, jurist, author and citizen, James L. Buckley personified the Jeffersonian ideal of service to country. Most important, he did so with dignity, humility, and unfailing devotion to the principles of freedom,” he said.

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