December 10, 2010
Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2010 -- James L. Buckley, the former U.S. senator and federal judge who shaped conservatives’ advances in all three branches of the federal government for 40 years, last night received the top award of The Heritage Foundation.
The leading Washington think tank presented Buckley with the Clare Boothe Luce Award, Heritage’s highest honor for dedication to the conservative movement, at its annual President’s Club meeting in the nation’s capital.
“Jim Buckley has devoted his life to defending the same constitutional principles of liberty, prosperity and civil society that Heritage pledged to champion from our inception,” Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner said before the ceremony.
Heritage Chairman Thomas A. Saunders III, reading from a Board of Trustees resolution bestowing the Luce Award, recalled Buckley’s key roles.
“Through your careers as military officer, entrepreneur, statesman, legislator, jurist and citizen, you have personified the Jeffersonian ideal of service to your country,” Saunders said. “Most important, you have done so with dignity, humility and unfailing devotion to the principles of freedom.”
Buckley, 87, of Sharon, Conn., is the brother of the late William F. Buckley, founder of National Review and also a Luce Award recipient.
James Buckley represented New York in the U.S. Senate for one term after his 1970 election as the Conservative Party candidate. He joined President Reagan’s administration in 1981 as the State Department official in charge of security, science and technology and was president of Radio Free Europe from 1982 to 1985, when Reagan appointed him to the federal appeals court in Washington.
Buckley got his law degree from Yale after serving in the Navy during World War II. He has written that he made his most memorable contribution to American politics in 1974, when he took up the issue of campaign finance reform with the Supreme Court. In Buckley v. Valeo, he challenged the constitutionality of a cap on individual contributions to political campaigns.
“As lead appellant,” Saunders read from the Luce Award resolution, “you restored a vital principle of constitutional free speech.”
Buckley’s new book, “Freedom at Risk: Reflections on Politics, Liberty and the State” (Encounter), collects essays and speeches spanning 40 years in politics. His step-by-step plan to preserve America’s constitutional government emerges throughout.
Past recipients of Heritage’s Luce Award include conservative icons Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and philanthropists Richard and Helen DeVos.
The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute, with more than 700,000 individual, foundation and corporate donors. Founded in February 1973, it works to develop effective policy solutions based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense.