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Conservative Senator Passes Away

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James Buckley, a prominent figure in conservative politics, died in a hospital in Washington on August 18th. Both he and his younger sibling William shared a passion for conservative ideologies and shared a strong familial bond. James Buckley held prestigious positions in all three branches of government, including a distinguished tenure in the 1970s as an independent-minded U.S. senator. He attained the age of 100, making him, in terms of longevity, the oldest former U.S. senator.

Peter Buckley, his son, confirmed the demise but refrained from disclosing the precise cause.

Mr. Buckley is predominantly recognized in political circles for his role as the principal plaintiff in Buckley v. Valeo, a significant legal case involving campaign funding. The 1976 litigation resulted in the partial dissolution of the post-Watergate legislation regulating political funds. The aforementioned verdict laid the groundwork for a series of judicial decisions that culminated in the 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which argued that monetary resources are equivalent to the act of expressing oneself.

According to Trevor Potter, a former Federal Election Commission (FEC) commissioner and advocate for campaign finance reform, the Buckley decision is significant because it is regarded as the defining case in this field during our generation. This is primarily because it permits unlimited independent political spending.

Mr. Buckley’s involvement in the case stemmed from his successful third-party campaign for a Senate seat and his belief that the proposed restrictions on expenditure and contributions would “stifle the ability of challengers to confront the political establishment.”

In addition to the aforementioned case, Mr. Buckley garnered recognition as a conservative scholar with a deep love for animals and the natural world. This was demonstrated by his decision to transport a pet boa constrictor to Yale University as an undergraduate. In addition, he ultimately became an advocate for the Endangered Species Act.

He directed his critical attention toward the federal government throughout his career. This dedication was evident when he entered the Senate in 1971. During the Reagan administration, he also served as the president of Radio Free Europe and later as a justice on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Formerly, he served as vice president of Catawba Corp, a family-owned energy company established by his father. The Catawba Corp was involved in the global management and investment of energy assets, and the Buckley offspring held equal shares.

In 1965, the individual in question made his first foray into electoral politics by serving as the campaign manager for his brother William’s candidacy for mayor of New York City. Unfortunately, this effort was unsuccessful, as their opponent, a liberal Republican congressman named John V. Lindsay, prevailed.

James Buckley became progressively problematic for the moderate Republican establishment leaders in the state of New York. In 1968, he ran for the Senate as a third-party conservative, challenging incumbent Republican Senator Jacob K. Javits. Two years later, Buckley won the election and was elected to the Senate.

In 1970, William F. Buckley Jr., again competing as the Conservative Party’s nominee, won the election by defeating moderate Republican Senator Charles Goodell and popular Democratic Representative William Ottinger.

Mr. Buckley’s level of recognition was lower than that of William, the renowned writer and television presenter who founded the National Review, despite his authorship of three books, his leadership in federal courtrooms, and his service in the Senate. William displayed a notable sense of style, wit, and charisma, as well as a frequently irreverent and flamboyant demeanor. James, on the other hand, was characterized by his reserved nature, and even his philosophical opponents admired his attentive and empathic listening abilities.

In John B. Judis’s biography of William Buckley, it is mentioned that when his brother secured a Senate seat and proclaimed himself as “the voice of the new politics” on the night of triumph, William Buckley, albeit momentarily eclipsed, reminded his family and friends by stating, “La nouvelle politique, c’est God damn well moi.”

James Lane Buckley was born on March 9, 1923, in Manhattan. He was the fourth of ten siblings and was raised in the family’s Sharon, Connecticut, residence. His parents imparted in their offspring a thorough education in the classics, with an emphasis on individual responsibility and Catholic teachings.

In 2011, the spouse of the individual in issue, formerly known as Ann Cooley, with whom he wed in 1953 passed away. The list of survivors includes five children in addition to Peter from Aiken, South Carolina: James F.W. “Jay” Buckley from Bristol, Rhode Island; Priscilla Illel from Valbonne, France; William “Bill” Buckley from Bozeman, Montana; David Buckley from Arlington, Virginia; and Andrew Buckley from Pembroke, New Hampshire. Additionally, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren exist. James L. Buckley, a resident of an assisted-living facility in Bethesda, Maryland, was the last surviving sibling of his nine.

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