Orrin Grant Hatch (March 22, 1934 – April 23, 2022) was a US senator from Utah from 1977 to 2019. Hatch is the longest-serving Republican senator in history, having served in the Senate for 42 years. Hatch had also been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints his entire life (LDS Church).
Orrin Hatch, a Republican senator from Utah and a fixture in state politics, has died at the age of 88.
Orrin Hatch, Utah’s longest-serving Republican senator and a fixture in state politics for more than four decades, died on Saturday at the age of 88.
His death was announced by his foundation in a statement that did not specify the cause of death.
He was a staunch conservative on most economic and social issues, but he also worked with Democrats on several occasions during his long career on issues ranging from stem cell research to disability rights to expanding children’s health insurance. He also made friends on the other side of the aisle, most notably with the late Edward Kennedy.
Hatch also advocated for Republican issues such as abortion restrictions and helped shape the United States Supreme Court, including defending Justice Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings against sexual harassment allegations.
He later became a Trump ally, using his position as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee to get a major overhaul of the US tax code to the president’s desk. In exchange, Trump assisted Hatch in delivering on a key issue for Republicans in Utah with a contentious move to drastically reduce the size of two national monuments declared by previous presidents.
Hatch retired in 2019 and was well-known for his side career as a singer and recording artist of music with themes relating to his religious faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
His wife, Elaine, and their six children survive him.
One issue Hatch returned to throughout his career was limiting or outlawing abortion, putting him at the centre of one of the nation’s most contentious issues. He was the author of a number of “Hatch amendments” to the United States Constitution aimed at limiting the availability of abortions.
Utah’s longest-serving senator, Orrin Hatch, ‘never shied away from a challenge,’ according to Biden.
A presidential candidate and a lyricist, a lawyer and a lyricist, a presidential candidate and an amateur boxer. Orrin Hatch was many things, but he will be remembered most for being a seven-term U.S. senator and Utah’s political godfather, launching or advancing the careers of generations of Republicans.
President Joe Biden said in a statement released Sunday that during their three decades in the Senate, he came to know Hatch as “the fighter who carried with him the memory of his humble upbringing near Pittsburgh, who never humoured a bully, or shied away from a challenge.”
Hatch is remembered by Biden as the “senator who sped from meeting to meeting because there was too much to do.” Biden described Hatch, the longest-serving Republican senator, as “sharp-elbowed” and a man of “deep faith” with a “gentle soul.”
“This was the Orrin who looked out for the people who didn’t always have a voice in our laws and in our country,” Biden said. “This was evident in his efforts to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.”
Indeed, despite being a well-known conservative, he was known for negotiating bipartisan deals on major legislation, often involving health care and taxes, and for championing religious liberties, with a focus on his Latter-day Saint faith, which he wore on his sleeve.
Hatch Stirs Up Controversy in Supreme Court Sexual Misconduct Hearings Once More
Hatch, who announced his retirement in January, remains the Senate Judiciary Committee’s senior Republican. He has once again jumped to the defence of Republican nominee Brett Kavanaugh, this time via Twitter. Since Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Justice Kavanaugh of attempted rape while the two were in high school, Hatch has attacked Democrats for exploiting the situation for political gain. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, has been accused by Hatch of leaking Dr. Blasey Ford’s allegations to the press against her will. Sen.
Hatch spoke with Justice Kavanaugh over the phone after Dr. Blasey Ford’s name surfaced, and Hatch stated in a statement that Dr. Blasey Ford was “mistaken” before speaking with Dr. Blasey Ford or hearing her testify. This statement sparked outrage on the internet and on social media. Hatch also called Kavanaugh’s subsequent allegations of sexual misconduct “phoney.” Unlike in the case of Anita Hill, the witness, Dr. Blasey Ford, was questioned by a professional sex crimes prosecutor, avoiding the damaging optics of male Senators grilling the lone female witness in the Anita Hill hearing. During the hearing, Hatch stated that “the way you [Kavanaugh] are being treated is a national disgrace,” and that “porn star lawyers with implausible claims are driving the news cycle.”
He also opposed an FBI investigation into the allegations — a similar one occurred during the Anita Hill investigations — until Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, a key Republican vote, called for a “limited in scope” investigation on Friday.
Sen. Hatch’s actions have sparked yet another round of venomous criticism. Many people are concerned that the treatment given to Dr. Blasey Ford and others who have made allegations against Kavanaugh by Hatch and his colleagues will discourage survivors of sexual assault from coming forward for fear of being treated similarly.
Hatch has also come under fire for referring to Dr. Blasey Ford as a “attractive, good witness” after her testimony. When reporters pressed him for more information, Hatch replied, “she’s pleasing.” Sara Matlock, a sophomore political science major, stated that “his choice of words was insensitive given the subject of the testimony [by Blasey Ford].” The Kavanaugh hearings have sparked debate across the country about gender roles, particularly after Kavanaugh’s testimony.