Former U.S. Sen. James Buckley dies at 100

August 21, 2023
Robert Ayers

James Buckley, the former U.S. senator and well-known conservative, has died at the age of 100. 

Initially, Politico reported, "Buckley died [on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023] at a hospital in Washington, D.C., according to his son David Buckley of Arlington, Va."

We have subsequently learned the cause of Buckley's hospitalization, namely, a fall.

The New York Post reports, "Buckley’s death in a Washington, D.C., hospital was the result of complications from a fall." This information came from Buckley's nephew Christopher Buckley, the author and political satirist.

Remembering James Buckley

James Buckley is the older brother of William F. Buckley Jr., the well-known founder of National Review and host of The Firing Line. But, James has his own claim to fame as a major conservative figure in American politics.

James did not get into politics until 1965, when he managed the mayoral campaign of William Buckley. Before that, James had been a corporate lawyer after serving in the Navy during World War II and attending Yale Law School.

In 1970, James launched his own political campaign to become a U.S. Senator from New York, and he won.

Politico reports:

Buckley was the sole Conservative Party candidate to win statewide office in New York, elected to the U.S. Senate in 1970 in a three-way race with 39 percent of the vote. Republican Sen. Charles Goodell, who was appointed to the job in 1968 after the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and Democratic Rep. Richard Ottinger split the moderate vote, allowing Buckley to capture the seat.

James would only remain in office for one term, losing to Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1976. But, these years were not uneventful.

"A conservative beacon"

James Buckley is particularly remembered for his challenge of campaign finance laws. This led to the Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo. Buckley is also remembered for calling upon then-President Richard Nixon to resign in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

Following his time as a U.S. Senator, Buckley went on to work in the administration of President Ronald Reagan. And, after that, Reagan appointed him to a position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), following the news of Buckley's passing, released a statement in which she appropriately referred to him as a "conservative beacon."

Stefanik said, "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."

Stefanik added:

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.

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