Elliot Ross Buckley

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Elliott Ross Buckley

(Attorney and political activist;
Cousin of William F. Buckley, Jr, and James L. Buckley)

Born June 18, 1921
New York City
Died June 30, 1992 (aged 71)
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Political Party Republican
Spouse Mary Smallpage Buckley

Elliot Ross Buckley (June 18, 1921 – June 30, 1992) was a New York City-born attorney and Republican official. A cousin of author William F. Buckley, Jr., and former U.S. Senator James Buckley of New York, he served in the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice from 1969 to 1982. He then became general counsel, member, and chairman from 1982 to 1989 of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on appointment from U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Buckley grew up in Tampico, Mexico. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. He graduated in 1943 from the University of Texas at Austin and in 1949 from the Tulane University Law School in New Orleans. His education was interrupted by service in the United States Army from 1942 to 1946. He received the Bronze Star for his participation in the Pacific campaign of World War II.

After his graduation from law school, Buckley joined the legal staff of Gulf Oil Corporation (1956-1959) and settled in New Orleans. He was in private practice from 1959 to 1964. From 1964 to 1969, Buckley was assistant principal and teacher of Spanish for the private Sam Barthe School for Boys in Metairie in Jefferson Parish in the New Orleans suburbs. The Barthe School closed in 1979.

In 1960, Buckley was the GOP nominee for Louisiana's 2nd vongressional district against the incumbent Democrat Hale Boggs, who handily prevailed, 81,034 votes (78 percent) to Buckley's 22,818 (22 percent). Buckley polled 13 percentage points behind the 1956 Republican congressional nominee, George R. Blue, who subsequently served two terms as a Democrat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. In the same election, John F. Kennedy easily defeated Richard M. Nixon in Louisiana. In the neighboring Sixth Congressional District race, the Republican Charles H. Dillemuth, a Baton Rouge businessman, polled only 14 percent of the vote against incumbent Democrat U.S. Representative James H. Morrison of Hammond.

Early in 1962, Buckley ran for mayor of New Orleans but lost as the Republican nominee to Democrat Victor Hugo Schiro (1904-1992) for the right to succeed retiring Mayor deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr., a three-time gubernatorial candidate. Buckley's New Orleans mayoral campaign was said to have paralleled and foreshadowed his cousin's 1965 bid as the Conservative Party nominee against John V. Lindsay in New York City.

In 1969, after he left the Barthe School, Buckley moved to Vienna, Virginia, to work in the Nixon administration Justice Department in Washington. The job lasted well beyond Nixon's tenure — for thirteen years during four presidential administrations. While in the Justice Department, Buckley was president of the Westbriar Civic Association and was elected to the Vienna Town Council in 1976. He served five two-year terms through 1986. His tenure with the Occupational and Safety Commission spanned the last seven years of the Reagan administration.

Buckley retired in 1989 to Las Cruces, New Mexico, with his wife, the former Mary Smallpage.


Buckley obituary, Las Cruces Sun-News, July 2, 1992.

Election Statistics, U.S. House, 1960, Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections.