About Orrin Grant Hatch
Orrin Grant Hatch (born March 22, 1934) is the senior United States Senator for Utah and is a member of the Republican Party. Hatch served as the chairman or ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (depending on whether the Republicans controlled the Senate) from 1993 to 2005. He previously served as chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee from 1981 to 1987. He currently serves as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. Hatch also serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Early life, education and career
Orrin Grant Hatch was born to Jesse Hatch (1904, Vernal, Utah - 1992, Salt Lake City, Utah) and his wife Helen Frances Hatch (née Kamm; 1906, Pekin, Illinois - 1995, Murray, Utah). His great-grandfather Jeremiah Hatch (1823, Lincoln, Vermont - 1903, Vernal, Utah) was the founder of Vernal, Utah.
Hatch, first in his family to attend college, attended Brigham Young University and, in 1959, received a degree in history. In 1962, he received a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh Law School. As a law student, he worked as a janitor, a construction worker in the Wood, Wire and Metal Lathers Union (putting plaster on walls over various kinds of lath), and as a dormitory desk attendant.
Hatch is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although he was born in Pennsylvania, his parents had been raised in Utah and he had ancestors who were members of the LDS Church in Nauvoo, Illinois. Hatch served as a Mormon missionary in what was called the "Great Lakes States Mission" essentially covering large parts of Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Hatch has since served in various positions in the LDS Church including as a bishop.
Hatch worked as an Attorney at law in Pittsburgh and Utah.
In 1976 in his first run for public office, he was elected to the United States Senate, defeating Democrat Frank Moss, a three-term incumbent. Among other issues, Hatch criticized Moss's 18-year tenure in the Senate, saying that many Senators, including Moss, had lost touch with their constituents. Hatch won his first election by an unexpectedly wide nine-point margin. He later defeated Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson by 17 points in his reelection bid in 1982. He hasn't faced substantive opposition since, and has been reelected five times. He is the longest-serving Senator in Utah history, eclipsing previous record-holder Reed Smoot in 2007.
2000 presidential campaign
In 2000, Hatch made a failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination, losing to then-Texas Governor George W. Bush. During the first Republican debate, Hatch made web usability a campaign issue, a first for a presidential candidate. He claimed his website was more user-friendly than Bush's. At least one web usability expert agreed.
Hatch has long expressed interest in serving on the U.S. Supreme Court. He was reportedly on Ronald Reagan's short list of candidates to succeed Lewis F. Powell, Jr. on the United States Supreme Court, but was passed over at least in part because of the Ineligibility Clause. Despite that, he vocally supported Robert Bork, who was chosen instead. After Bork's and Douglas H. Ginsburg's nominations to the seat faltered, Anthony Kennedy was confirmed to fill the vacancy.
Hatch was also mentioned as a possible nominee after George W. Bush became president. But after the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, a potential appointment became very unlikely. Barack Obama's election and Hatch's age now make him an unlikely Supreme Court nominee.
Political positions and votes
In 1995 Hatch was the leading figure behind the senate's anti-terrorism bill, to a large extent a response to the Oklahoma City Bombing. The bill was attacked by the American Jewish Committee who felt it would be too difficult to enforce the ban on designated terrorist groups raising funds. The bill also increased the limits on habeas corpus in capital cases.
As a senior member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, Hatch was also instrumental in the 2008 extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He said, "This bipartisan bill will help defeat terrorism and keep America safe. No, the legislation is not perfect, but it ensures that the increased expansion of the judiciary into foreign intelligence gathering doesn’t unnecessarily hamper our intelligence community.”
Balanced Budget Amendment
Hatch has been a longtime advocate of amending the United States Constitution to require that total spending of the federal government for any fiscal year not exceed total receipts.
During his time in the Senate, Hatch has sponsored a Balanced Budget Amendment 17 times—4 times as lead sponsor and 13 times as a co-sponsor. He also voted in favor of passing a Balanced Budget Amendment on at least 9 occasions. Hatch's proposed amendment passed the House of Representatives in 1997, but failed to pass the Senate by the required two-thirds majority by one vote to move on the States for ratification.
On January 26, 2011, during the current session of Congress, Hatch introduced S.J. Res. 3 -- a Balanced Budget Amendment that:
Mandates that total budgetary outlays for any fiscal year not exceed total revenues. Caps federal spending at 20 percent of GDP.
Requires the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress every fiscal year.
Requires two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate on any measure that raises taxes.
Includes provisions that can be waived if there is a formal declaration of war, if the U.S. is engaged in a military conflict constituting a threat to national security, or if two-thirds of both the House and Senate approve.
Health care reform
Hatch opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. Senator Hatch has argued that the insurance mandate found in the legislation is not in the category that can be covered by the interstate commerce clause since it regulates the decision to engage in commercial activity rather than regulating the activity itself. He therefore regards the Act as unconstitutional.
Senator Hatch also Introduced the American Liberty Restoration Act (S. 19 112th Congress). This act would repeal the provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that require individuals to keep minimum essential health care coverage. He also co-sponsored the Save Our States Act (S. 281, 112th Congress), which would delay the implementation of the health care reform law until there is a final resolution of the lawsuits against it.
In 2003, Senator Hatch voted to establish a GOP-backed Medicare prescription drug benefit plan.
In 1980, Hatch spoke in favor of rolling back provisions of the Fair Housing Act. Acting on his motion in 1988, Congress eventually voted to weaken the ability of plaintiffs to prosecute cases of discriminatory treatment in housing. At the time, the 1988 Fair Housing Amendments were being debated, he introduced a bill endorsed by the National Association of Realtors to severely limit who can file anti-discrimination suits and to make the proceedings a private affair.
Hatch was one of the architects and advocates of the expansion of H-1B visas and has generally been an advocate of tougher enforcement immigration policy including voting for 1,500 new law enforcement agents to patrol the border. His 2010 Immigration Bill titled Strengthening Our Commitment to Legal Immigration and America’s Security Act has received the support of the non-partisan Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). He also proposed the controversial DREAM Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for the children of illegal aliens, who were children when their parents illegally came to the United States.
Hatch brought the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) quick-response teams and an Immigration court to Utah. Hatch also established an ICE Field Office Director position to address Utah's immigration concerns, brought the 287(g) cross-deputizing program and the Secure Communities program to Utah.
One year later, he proposed the controversial INDUCE Act that attempted to make illegal all tools that could be used for copyright infringement if said tools were intentionally used for illegal copyright infringement.
On September 20, 2010, Senator Hatch once again attempted to make illegal websites that could be used for trademark and copyright infringement through the controversial Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). This bill would allow the Department of Justice to blacklist and censor all websites the department deemed to be dedicated to "infringing activities."
During Hatch's first year in the Senate in 1977, reporter Gordon Eliot White of the Deseret News published the first of what would be a lengthy series of articles detailing government malfeasance in atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs at the Nevada Test Site. Over the next 13 years White's articles detailed how the government determined to proceed with the tests, and with mining and refining, without adequate safeguards for innocent citizens whose health would be damaged. Though Hatch feared an investigation would endanger the nation's nuclear deterrence versus the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, by 1979 he was pushing for hearings on the issue before the Senate Labor Committee. Hatch prevailed on Committee Chairman Ted Kennedy to hold field hearings in Utah in 1980. At the end of 1980, Hatch was positioned to chair the committee himself.
By 1984, Hatch had held a dozen hearings, passed legislation requiring scientific investigation of the injuries and had enlisted the aid of the National Science Foundation and National Cancer Institute, but still could not muster the votes to get a bill. When a vote was obtained in the Senate in 1985 (as an amendment to a bill to compensate Pacific Islanders for nuclear tests in the 1950s), it failed by a handful of votes. Hatch discovered a clause in the proposed Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Kiribati and Tuvalu to pay at least $100 million to residents of the Marshall Islands for injuries similar to those of Utahns, and Hatch took the treaty hostage. His hold on consideration of the treaty eventually got agreement from the Reagan administration to agree not to oppose radiation compensation for Utah citizens, but it still took another five years to get the bill through. The Radiation Compensation Act of 1990 provided compensation for citizens injured by radioactive fallout from the tests.
Hatch was the main author of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act which protected all religion’s right to build church facilities on private property. In 2010 Senator Hatch defended the right of a private organization to build a mosque on private property in downtown Manhattan, citing this law and defense of the freedom of religion.
Senator Hatch co-sponsored the Restoring the 10th Amendment Act (S. 4020 111th Congress), which would strengthen state rights under the 10th Amendment. The bill would provide special standing for state officials in challenging proposed regulations.
Senator Hatch has opposed the power of the Federal government to designate land in the states national monuments, believing that the states should be able to determine what the land within their borders is used for. Hatch co-sponsored the National Monument Designation Transparency and Accountability Act of 2010 (S. 3660 111th Congress), which increases the requirements that must be met before national monuments can be designated.
Confirmation of judges
As ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hatch fought hard to get Conservative judges nominated to the Supreme Court. Hatch was also a strong supporter of Jay Bybee during Bybee's confirmation hearings for a U.S. Federal judgeship stating "I've seen a lot of people around and a lot of judges and I don't know of anybody who has any greater qualifications or any greater ability in the law than you have".
Equal Opportunity to Govern
He has also pushed legislation for the Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment, which would amend Article 2, Section I, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution. This amendment would allow anyone who has been a U.S. citizen for twenty years to seek the presidency or vice-presidency.
Supporting new technology
A vocal supporter of stem cell research, Hatch was one of 58 senators who signed a letter directed to President George W. Bush, requesting the relaxing of federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. In 2010, Senator Hatch's bill was reauthorized which allowed stem cells from umbilical cords to be used to find treatment options.
Committee on Finance (Ranking Minority Member) Subcommittee on Health Care (Ranking Minority Member)
Subcommittee on Taxation, IRS Oversight, and Long-Term Growth
Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure
Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights (Ranking Minority Member)
Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families
Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety
Special Committee on Aging
Joint Committee on Taxation
Impeachment Trial Committee on the Articles against Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr. (Vice Chair)
The retirement of Senator Judd Gregg in 2011 created a domino effect among high profile Republicans: Senator Jeff Sessions took his spot as Ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, so Senator Chuck Grassley took his spot on the Judiciary Committee, and Hatch took the top Republican spot on the Finance Committee.
In 1998, Hatch, a descendant of polygamists, said that the Constitution was "ambiguous" on the issue of polygamy. He later rescinded on this statement, saying that the Constitution was not ambiguous, and that polygamy should remain illegal. He also stated that polygamy is against the teachings of his church.
Hatch's son Scott is a partner and registered lobbyist at Walker, Martin & Hatch LLC, a Washington lobbying firm. The firm was formed in 2001 with Jack Martin, a staff aide to Senator Hatch for six years, and H. Laird Walker, described as a close associate of the senator. In March 2003, the Los Angeles Times reported that the firm was formed with Hatch's personal encouragement and that he saw no conflict of interest in working on issues that involved his son's clients. In 2009, the Washington Times reported that Hatch said "My son, Scott, does not lobby me or anyone in my office."
In 1994, Hatch co-wrote a law with Senator Tom Harkin that outlined how dietary supplements are regulated. Utah, Hatch's home state, is considered the "Silicon Valley" of the supplement industry. When the FDA was reviewing the adverse effects of ephedra in 1999, Hatch questioned the scientific basis of the some of agency's recommendations.
In March 2009, the Washington Times reported that the pharmaceutical industry, which has benefited from Hatch's legislative efforts, had previously unreported connections to Hatch. In 2007, five pharmaceutical companies and the industry's main trade association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), donated $172,500 to the Utah Families Foundation—a charitable foundation which Hatch helped start in the 1990s and has continued to support since. Walker, Martin & Hatch LLC was paid $120,000 by PhRMA in 2007 to lobby Congress on pending U.S. Food and Drug Administration legislation.
Hatch married his wife, the former Elaine Hansen, on August 28, 1957. They are the parents of six children.
Hatch is a Co-Chairman of the Federalist Society, a conservative society for lawyers, and was one of the founders of the society.
Hatch serves as a member of the board of directors of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Hatch has also benefited Jews in more tangible ways, such as giving Benny Zippel, the Italian immigrant who was serving as the head of the Chabad-Lubavicher Synagogue in Utah a letter to send to the Immigration and Naturalization Services in 1992 to recommend he be given permanent residence status as a rabbi in Utah. This was not enough, and it took Gordon B. Hinckley linking Zippel up with lawyer Oscar McConkie III to prevent his loss of legal status in the U.S.
Musical career and film appearances
Orrin Hatch plays the piano, violin and organ. Fueled by his interest in poetry, Orrin has written songs for many. He co-authored "Everything And More," sung by Billy Gilman. In addition to his job as a United States Senator, Hatch has earned over $10,000 as an LDS music recording artist.
Hatch also has a history in arts management. In the early 1970s he was the band manager for a Mormon-themed folk group called the Free Agency. The Free Agency was made up of members of an earlier Mormon group called the Sons of Mosiah, that was formed when guitarist David Zandonatti and vocalist Ron McNeeley relocated to Utah after their San Francisco based psychedelic group Tripsichord music box disbanded in 1971.
Rock musician Frank Zappa composed a guitar instrumental entitled "Orrin Hatch On Skis," which appears on his album, Guitar (1988).
Hatch's song "Heal Our Land" was performed at George W. Bush's January 2005 inauguration.
Hatch appeared as himself in Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning drama Traffic, in a brief cameo in a scene set during a Washington D.C. cocktail party. Soderbergh later featured one of Hatch's songs, Souls Along The Way, in his film Ocean's 12 as background music for a scene in Hatch's home state Utah.
Hatch's likeness was featured in the 30 Rock episode Jack Gets in the Game as one of Dr. Leo Spaceman's famous clients.
In 2009, at the request of The Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg, Hatch authored the lyrics to "Eight Days of Hanukkah", described by Goldberg as "a hip hop Hannukah song written by the senior senator from Utah."
Orrin Hatch, Understanding the Equal Rights Amendment: Myths and Realities, Conservative Press (January 1, 1976)
Orrin Hatch, Higher Laws: Understanding the Doctrines of Christ , Shadow Mountain (June 1995) ISBN 978-0875798967
Orrin Hatch, Square Peg: Confessions of a Citizen Senator, Basic Books (October 15, 2002) ISBN 978-0465028672
Hatch's autobiography describes the challenges of balancing home and professional life as a Senator, and recounts anecdotes from his campaign experience and some of his higher-profile assignments in the Senate, such as the Confirmation Hearings of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.
Senator Hatch also is the author of several law review articles.