Paul G. Hatfield
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|Paul Gerhart Hatfield|
|United States Senator
January 22, 1978 – December 12, 1978
|Appointed by||Thomas Lee Judge|
|Preceded by||Lee Metcalf|
|Succeeded by||Max Baucus|
April 29, 1928|
Great Falls, Montana
|Died||July 3, 2000
Great Falls, Montana
|Alma mater||College of Great Falls
University of Montana
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1951-1953|
Paul Gerhart Hatfield, (April 29, 1928 – July 3, 2000) was an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party. He served briefly as United States Senator from Montana in 1978, and was later a United States federal judge.
Born in Great Falls, Montana, he attended the College of Great Falls (now University of Great Falls) and served in the United States Army, Signal Corps, 181st Signal Depot Company, from 1951 to 1953. He received an LL.B. from University of Montana Law School, Missoula, Montana in 1955, and was admitted to the Montana bar that same year, commencing his practice in Great Falls.
He was chief deputy county attorney for Cascade County from 1959 to 1960 and served as judge of the Eighth Judicial District from 1961 to 1976. He was appointed chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court in 1977 and served until 1978.
On January 22, 1978, Montana Governor Thomas Lee Judge appointed Hatfield to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Lee Metcalf for the term ending January 3, 1979. He served from January 22, 1978, until his resignation December 14, 1978. He was defeated for renomination in the Democratic primary by Congressman Max Baucus.
Shortly after his primary defeat, on March 15, 1979, Hatfield was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Montana vacated by Russell E. Smith. Hatfield was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 9, 1979, and received his commission the following day. He served as chief judge from 1990 to 1996, assuming senior status on February 9, 1996, and continuing to serve until the end of his life. Hatfield was a resident of Great Falls, Montana from 1979 until his death on July 3, 2000. He is buried in Riverside Memorial Park in Spokane, Washington.
Hatfield was highly regarded as a courageous U.S. Senator whose primary election defeat in 1978 is widely-regarded as a consequence of his unpopular, but principled and decisive vote in favor of the 1977 Panama Canal Treaty and as the most outstanding jurist in Montana history. He died in Great Falls, Montana. The Paul G. Hatfield Courthouse in Helena, Montana is named in his honor.
- Paul G. Hatfield at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
|United States Senate|
|United States Senator (Class 2) from Montana
Served alongside: John Melcher