tv National Review Institute Ideas Summit - Judge James Buckley CSPAN April 29, 2019 9:09pm-9:44pm EDT
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now available in hardcover for e-book at c-span.org/the presidents. next, from the national review ideas summit remarks from judge james buckley from the u.s. court of appeals for the district of columbia. this is 30 minutes. [applause] the problem with introductions is that they introduce it to talk about himself rather than thbe introduced and the temptatn is going to wi bed now so just t back. this might be my three decades of the national review. when the vice president, i'm her publisher and one afternoon in the late 19 '80s walking out of the national review historic headquarters, i saw coming up 35th street is mild and gentle
man who is james buckley. hello, senator, i said with enthusiasm and excitement and struck by my elegant prose likely sentencing a stalker vibe of the smiling gentle man nodded and replied hello and kept walking and so began a friendship. [laughter] over the years i found myself in the jim buckley's company from time to time on each occasion, and still today i cannot help but be reminded of the old sesame street song without one of these things is not like the other, one of these things doesn't belong. and i wondered seriously by what act of god's grace and i blessed to be in this great man's presence. and he is a great man. you've likely heard this, but it
bears repeating. in our history, only a handful of americans have served in the three branches of the republican government. jim buckley is one of the few. he was a federal judge having served for a decade with great distinction on the court of appeals for the district of columbia. before the row comes a as a top official in the executive branch serving president ronald reagan as the under-secretary of state and president of radio free europe, and he also led the united states delegation to the united nation, mexico city conference on population control and talk about a skunk at a garden party. [laughter] and of course, he was a united states senator from new york. the conservative party candidate that beat the democrats and the republicans. do you remember that special november night in 1970, when he
triumphed over fidel and can you still hear the distant echo of elation and to borrow from chris matthews, does the thrill still single? [laughter] for the truly important night that was for this movement of ours and what a truly important accomplishment is election and senate service was and remains. one more part of amazing resume, the tenant, united states navy served his country abroad the 1013 a floating shoebox as he called it stationed on the 50-yard line of okinawa and other major pacific battle's. back to me. [laughter] a few years ago, in connecticut
at a party to celebrate the 90th birthday of the now late sister priscilla buckley is fierce also as he would call her, i found myself standing next to him so i turned it to the judge and the senate hello, your honor im jack fowler. i always felt the need to introduce myself to him. i couldn't fathom someone of this nature would recall, but he smiled and said to me i know who you are. i could have left out i felt like sally fields winning the oscar. [laughter] but seriously, who among us here or what conservative who knows anything about this movement and its heroes, about the nation and its giants upon whose shoulders
we stand would not be thrilled to know jim buckley, to be in the presence of jim buckley as we are at this very moment so blessed to be here. in 2014 at the tender age of 91, he wrote an important book of a love letter to federalism saving congress from itself emancipating the states and empowering the people. today, jim will talk about the book's themes and develop whatever else he wishes. [laughter] is there a better way to conclude a national review institute of summit on the case for the american experiment didn't hear from the man who is a living testimonial to this experiment success flex just before i came out here, his father told me that this was going to be his last public
appearance. so, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of my fellow trustees of the national review institute, i have to greahad the great pleaso introduce a singularly great american, a hero to the movement, a hero to the nation. we are blessed to have him with us. his honor james buckley. [applause] i don't know where he got that
exaggeration. [laughter] but anyway, thank you for this opportunity to submit my own thoughts on safeguarding the american experiment. i will propose is a simple reform that will restore a healthy federalism while saving state governments and the fed if enough money. first, my credentials such as they are typeset in each branch of the federal government, i have been engaged in writing, administering and interpreting federal law for much of my working life. accordingly, i think it is fair to say that i have had more than the average citizen's opportunity to observe its impact on our lives and the radical changes that have been brought about and how we are
governed. to illustrate the speed with which those changes have taken place, shortly after my election in 1970, i was handed a recent study of congress that have concluded that the average congressional office had doubled every five years since 1986. given the fact that in simpler times they were in session for five or six months a year, its members could take the initial increases in stride and simply by devoting more hours per day and months per year to their work. over time, however, the available time had been exhausted and the doubling could only be accommodated by squeezing the liberation out of the legislative process. the existence has been the
consequences of the congress in the 1930s to scratch every pitch on the body politic whether it is as constitutional or not. the result has been an explosion of the federal law and regulation. in 1934 the code consisted of a single volume of federal statute. the work product of the congress first 137 years. just 36 years later when i was elected to the senate, it had grown to 11 volumes. the current edition now continues 34. third was just the tip of the iceberg because they are supplemented by an ever expanding number of small regulations that have the force of law and now feel an additional 242 volumes.
both federal law and regulations for each into every corner of our lives and those affected by them must turn to the representatives in washington for help with matters that were once handled at the state or the municipal levels. the legislative and constitutional pitchers have converted congress from an institution that could think the problems through to responsible conclusions and to those that largely substitute political rhetoric for the reflection and to compound injury to congress now finds it so hard to focus on the messy details of the new legislation that abdicates the constitutional responsibilities by delegating essentially
legislative authority to executive agencies thereby spawning a largely unaccountable administrative state. an administrative state that issues letters on whom they use which without bothering with pesky procedures that require the scrutiny of the rules before they can take effect. in my view o the serious probles we face these days are the results of the abandonment of the constitutions they turn of the rebelling against the british crown and to a transforming moment of history.
with the gaining of independence the founders faced the task of creating a government that could operate effectively while respecting and protecting the liberties of which it had been called. the architects of the republic had no illusions about the human nature which is the one constant in human affairs. from their study of the history of the societies reaching back to ancient greece they understood the drive to accumulate power whether by an individual desperate parliament majority was the historic enemy of individual freedom. therefore they incorporated the safeguards into the constitution and the system of the separation
of powers with its checks and balances and the principle of federalism. the papers by the constitution to the federal government are few and defined reserved to the states where they extend to all objects which in the normal course of affairs have t the lives, liberties and properties of the people and the internal order of improvement and prosperity of the state. during the debates over the constitutions ratification many expressed the concern that this wasn't clear enough in the document itself. as a consequence, the first congress in the bill of rights
provides that the powers not delegated by the constitution would be prohibited to the states reserved to the states respectively to the people. the tenth amendment allocation of power mirrors those of the rule of subsidiary which assigns responsibilities to their lowest levels capable of handling them. its effect is to de- centralized political power and ensure wherever feasible the decisions that affect people remain by those that are the closest to them with their priorities and the relevant facts. this division of government that
proves so effective in the constitution with which it has some problems the great british historian nevertheless concluded that, quote, by the develop an the principle of federalism, the american constitution has produced a community more powerful, more prosperous, more intelligent and more free than any other world has seen. during the years in washington with the advent of the new deal began shifting away at the state's authority largely through some constructions of the federal government's power to regulate the intrastate commerce but with the advent of the society, congress began a
wholesale assumption of the states responsibilities. this was done so through a proliferation of programs that offer states into subdivisions regulation monies for purposes that are acknowledged to be the sole responsibility of the state. congress found its authority to create such programs in the unfortunate supreme court's construction of the constitution spending clause which empowers it to spend money to pay and provide for the common welfare of the united states. mischief lies in the word general welfare. during much of the history, that phrase did no more than place a limit on the authority to spend
by requiring the federal expenditures as opposed to state or local purposes. beginning with the 1937 case of companies in the state however the supreme court has held that in its pursuit of the general welfare, congress has authorized to provide states with funds with which they implement programs that congress itself has no power to write into law. the court recently summarized the holding as enabling the congress to use tax revenues to induce the states to adopt policies that the federal government itself cannot impose. but because they are matters that are acknowledged to be beyond the constitutional authority of the court has ruled
that states may not be coerced into accepting the grants and their intended regulations. experience, however, has demonstrated that the states find it enormously difficult to declare them whatever the conditions. thus the practical effect of the court's decision has been to empower congress to coerce the states into adopting washington's approach into matters that remain distinct exclusive responsibilities. these programs but have the most detailed instructions now provide federal subsidies from virtually any activity in which the states and subdivisions are engaged you made a contribution to the federal government's vast expansion. in the process, they distort the state priority is, impose
regulations on a myriad of state and collectivities and deprive their citizens of effective control over how the taxes are to be used. they've converted the states into many ways to the programs that are created in washington and are overseen by the bureaucrats who are furthest removed from where the money is to be spent and as a former democratic government but i honestly wondered if i was actually elected governor or just the branch manager. [laughter] members of congress have become addicted to the transfer programs and there are now a thousand of them because they deal with the matters that have the most immediate impact on the constituency such as housing,
schooling, job training, you name it therefore the creation and the securing of grants offer them ways to generate the headlines that will assure the reelection. as a consequence, the programs distributed to $24 million by 2015 the figure had reached almost 641 million or one sixth of the total federal spending all for the purpose and that figure should be added.
to compound the injury instead of concentrating on the problems that only congress can address its members now the good nature actions of their time on matters that are not of a constitutional business. in short, these programs have effectively nullified the amendment and in the process helped undermine congress's ability to function effectively. what can be done about it? four years ago i wrote a book with the title saving congress from itself, in which i detailed the extraordinary and systemic and financial cost of the programs on both state and federal levels and proposed a simple reform bill would restore
federalism, namely the conversions into block grants free of the federal directives telling the states how the money is to be spent. it is a reform that would reduce federal spending by nature announce in its administrative costs and with a significant distraction from its national responsibilities and restore the people's ability to control their own state and local affairs needless to say congress has to act on i advice. the power to move his passing from printed books to the social media, or so i'm told. so, there may be another and what i dream of is one in which the president advises congress
that he will veto any bill that calls for states how to run their own affairs. such stirred up debate on the merits of the proposal and encourages adoption if it might even remind the country meant thacountrymen thatthe constituts limits on what the federal government may engage in and the enforcement of the limits might well be in their interest confidence in the federal government i is at an all-time w and there are people still understanding the virtues of the constitution's allocation of the responsibilities even if they are no longer aware. according to the polling data, today's americans believe the
state and local governments are best able to handle the responsibilities by the indicated percentages of housing by 82%, transportation 78%, education, 75, and welfare 69. those are precisely the kind of responsibilities the constitution has reserved to the states, the kind that the federal agencies have taken. there is of course another way to restore the federalism and that is to persuade the court to abandon the interpretation of the spending clause. as i noted earlier, they have placed a single planet on the ability to transfer money to the states for purposes that are there exclusive business family
estates may not be coerced into accepting the fun and the accompanying. in the years of experience with demonstrated what is perceived as free money from washington is virtually impossible to resist, whatever the conditions attached to it and for politically significant reasons. if a state does not participate in a program, it's share of the money in whole or in part will go elsewhere. i say this despite the fact that the 23 states declined to participate in the obamacare is the expansion of medicaid coverage. the refusal to do so was an exception that proved the rule. having experienced the huge
collateral cost of the existing programs that states declined to compound the injury. in light of this experience i believe there is a chance that the supreme court might reverse its 1937 ruling on the basis that they've proven to be coercive. i base this on the decision of brown v. board of education which declared the segregation is constitutional and in doing so it overturned its own 57-year-old precedent that held racially segregated facilities are permissible so long as they are equal. on the ground experience with proven segregated facilities or
inherently unequal and accordingly reversing the machine co. and assurin companyg that the grants are indeed coercive all that is needed to test the thesis is that the group of governors to challenge the constitutionality of a particularly aggravating category perhaps just medicaid and any of you have the view please urge them to pay attention to what i just said. but whether or not the courts or congress obliges me in this regard, we can never relax. we work to protect the constitution and the framers understood this. they understood about preserving the liberties for which it had been taught would require more
than what james madison referred to as the constitutions derrières. they recognize in the last analysis the constitutional safeguards would be protected only so long as the public intended to understand and respect them. unfortunately, over the past generation and more, educators have abdicated the responsibility to ground the students in the fundamentals of the american experience and as a result, far too many are suffering from a peculiar form of historical amnesia. they remember all our past sins such as the treatment of the indians but too few have a sufficient awareness of a constitutional and economic principle on the historical
record that was made in the generous and free society the world has known. principles that are responsible for the freedoms and material well-being they take so much for granted. but note that i use the word had because thanks to the administrative state, we are no longer the world's freest. to ensure people's continued commitment to the constitution needs to a future conference. in the meantime, we can count on it to sharpen the conservative message as we approach next to this critical elections, and that of course is why it is so important that the institute continue to receive the support it needs, to support all of you
here are providing by your participation in this year's ideas summit. and i thank you for this opportunity to present my own. .-full-stop [applause] ladies and gentlemen, let's thank him once again for his presence. [applause] he is a giant of our movement and a reminder of the contributions that the family has made to the national life.
one of the most -- [applause] one of the moments for me is when people thank me for putting them on and thus demonstrates a completely unfounded faith in my abilities so let's please think the folks responsible for this, lindsey and her team. [applause] once again we've put together an incredibly compelling program and put it off without a hitch. without that, that concludes the summit. thank you for coming and god bless america. [applause]
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