Former NY Sen. James Buckley passes away at 100; called for Nixon’s resignation

By | August 19, 2023

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death – Obituary News : WASHINGTON — Former New York Senator James Buckley, a prominent figure in American politics and a champion of conservative values, passed away on Friday at the age of 100. Buckley, who played a pivotal role in calling for President Richard Nixon’s resignation during the Watergate scandal, died at a hospital in Washington, D.C., according to his son David Buckley.

Born on March 9, 1923, in New York City, James Buckley was the fourth of 10 children of a wealthy oilman and the older brother of renowned conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr. He was the last surviving sibling of the Buckley family.

In 1970, Buckley made history as the sole candidate from the Conservative Party to win a statewide office in New York. In a three-way race for the U.S. Senate, he secured victory with 39% of the vote. His win was made possible by the split in the moderate vote between Republican Senator Charles Goodell and Democratic Representative Richard Ottinger. Buckley’s younger brother often referred to him as “the sainted junior senator from New York.”

During his one term in the Senate, Buckley, who identified himself as both a Republican and Conservative, was a staunch advocate for free enterprise and limited government. He was known to challenge members of his own party whom he believed were too liberal.

Buckley’s most notable legal achievement came in 1976 when he served as the plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case, Buckley v. Valeo. The court struck down mandatory limits on candidate spending, ruling it as a violation of the First Amendment. However, it upheld the right for Congress to set limits on campaign contributions.

In March 1974, Buckley made headlines when he called for President Nixon’s resignation amidst the Watergate scandal. He believed that Nixon’s resignation was necessary to save the integrity of the presidency. Buckley’s call for resignation was a significant moment in the political landscape, as he was only the second Republican senator to make such a demand, following Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts.

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After his Senate term ended in 1976, Buckley moved to Connecticut and ran for a Senate seat in 1980. However, he was defeated by Democrat Christopher Dodd. Buckley later served as an undersecretary of state in the Reagan administration from 1981 to 1982. He then became the president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from 1982 to 1985.

Buckley’s legal career continued when he was appointed as a federal appeals court judge in Washington. Despite facing criticism for his limited experience as a lawyer, he served on the court until 1996. He is best known for a decision he made alongside Clarence Thomas, who is now a Supreme Court justice, in which they set aside a $50 million punitive damages award against Korean Air Lines over the Soviet Union’s 1983 shooting down of a KAL jetliner.

James Buckley is survived by his six children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His wife, Ann, passed away in 2011. Throughout his life, Buckley remained committed to his conservative principles and made a lasting impact on American politics..