Orrin Hatch

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Orrin Hatch
Orrin Hatch, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
Assumed office
January 6, 2015
Preceded by Patrick Leahy
United States Senator
from Utah
Assumed office
January 3, 1977
Serving with Mike Lee
Preceded by Frank Moss
Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Ron Wyden
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2005
Preceded by Patrick Leahy
Succeeded by Arlen Specter
In office
January 20, 2001 – June 6, 2001
Preceded by Patrick Leahy
Succeeded by Patrick Leahy
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by Joe Biden
Succeeded by Patrick Leahy
Chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1987
Preceded by Harrison A. Williams
Succeeded by Ted Kennedy
Personal details
Born Orrin Grant Hatch
(1934-03-22) March 22, 1934 (age 83)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Elaine Hansen (m. 1957)
Children 6
Education Brigham Young University (BA)
University of Pittsburgh (JD)
Website Senate website

Orrin Grant Hatch (born March 22, 1934) is an American politician serving as President pro tempore of the United States Senate since January 2015. A member of the Republican Party, he serves as the senior United States Senator for Utah. Hatch is the longest-serving Republican Senator in U.S. history.

Hatch served as either the chairman or ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1993 to 2005. He previously served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions from 1981 to 1987 and currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee as well as serving on the board of directors for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

After the Republicans won control of the Senate during the 2014 midterms, Hatch became the President pro tempore of the Senate on January 6, 2015, after the 114th United States Congress was sworn in.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Orrin Grant Hatch was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania[2] in a house without indoor plumbing.[3][4] He is the son of Jesse Hatch, a metal lather,[5] and his wife Helen Frances Hatch. Hatch had eight brothers and sisters, two of whom did not survive infancy.[6] Hatch was profoundly affected by the loss of his older brother Jesse, a U.S. Army Air Forces nose turret gunner with the 725th Bombardment Squadron who was killed on February 7, 1945 when the B-24 he was aboard was shot down over Austria.[7][8][9][10]

Hatch, the first in his family to attend college, attended Brigham Young University and in 1959 received a B.A. degree in history. He also fought 11 bouts as an amateur boxer.[11] In 1962, Hatch received a J.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.[12] He worked as an attorney in Pittsburgh, and moved to Utah in 1969, where he continued to practice law.[13]

Political career[edit]

1976 Senate election[edit]

Hatch during his first term in the Senate

In 1976, in his first run for public office, Hatch 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 "What do you call a Senator who's served in office for 18 years? You call him home."[14] Hatch ran on the promise of term limits[15] and argued that many Senators, including Moss, had lost touch with their constituents.[16]

Subsequent Senate elections[edit]

In 1982, he won reelection to a second term, defeating Mayor of Salt Lake City Ted Wilson by 17 points. He has not faced substantive opposition since, and has been reelected five more times, including defeating Brian Moss, Frank Moss' son, by 35 points in 1988.[17]

In 2007, he became the longest-serving Senator in Utah history, eclipsing previous record-holder Reed Smoot.[18] He was among the first to rally conservative Christians and Mormons to the Republican Party, most notably on the anti-abortion platform, which he has supported for 35 years.[19]

2012 Senate election[edit]

After the defeat of Utah's Senator Bob Bennett in 2010, conjecture began as to whether six-term Senator Hatch would retire. It was also speculated that Congressman Jason Chaffetz would run against Hatch, though Chaffetz would later decline. In January 2011, Hatch announced his campaign for re-election.[20] Later, nine other Republicans, including former State Senator Dan Liljenquist and then-State Legislator Chris Herrod, declared campaigns for U.S. Senator.[21][22]

Having elected state delegates in mid-March, both the Democratic and Republican parties held conventions on April 21, with the possibilities to determine their nominees for the November general election. At the Republican convention, Hatch failed to get the 60% vote needed to clinch the Republican nomination, so he faced Liljenquist (the second-place winner) in the primary June 26.[23] Hatch won the primary easily.[24] It was Hatch's first primary competition since his election in 1976. The Democratic convention chose former state Senator and IBM executive, Scott Howell as the Democratic candidate. Hatch eventually retained his position with 65.2% of the vote to Howell's 30.2%.[23]

2000 presidential campaign[edit]

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.[25]

Possible Supreme Court nomination[edit]

Hatch has long expressed interest in serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.[26] It was reported that he was 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.[27] Despite that, he vocally supported Robert Bork, who was chosen instead.[28] 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. Following the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, a potential appointment became unlikely. Hatch's advanced age now makes him a very unlikely Supreme Court nominee. However, after the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had suggested him as a nominee. The nomination instead went to Neil Gorsuch.

2016 presidential election[edit]

Hatch originally supported former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and then endorsed Florida Senator Marco Rubio once Bush ended his campaign. On May 12, 2016, after Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Hatch endorsed him.[29]

On May 27, 2016, after Trump suggested that a federal judge Gonzalo P. Curiel was biased against Trump because of his Mexican heritage, Hatch said: "From what I know about Trump, he's not a racist but he does make a lot of outrageous statements...I think you can criticize a judge but it ought to be done in a formal way" and said that Trump's statements were not so inappropriate that he would rescind his support.[30][better source needed]

On October 7, 2016, following the Donald Trump Access Hollywood controversy, Hatch described Trump's comments as "offensive and disgusting" and said that "There is no excuse for such degrading behavior. All women deserve to be treated with respect." Hatch maintained his endorsement of Trump's candidacy.[31][not in citation given]

On January 20, 2017, Hatch was absent from the Inauguration Day Festivities. Hatch´s website comments “Today, we observe a time-honored tradition of the world’s oldest democracy: the peaceful transition of power. This changing of the guard from one president to another is a defining feature of our Republic. At the request of President Donald Trump, I am honored to fulfill the role of designated presidential successor during the inauguration. As much as I would have liked to participate in the ceremony and festivities, I am honored to perform this important constitutional duty, which ensures the continuity of government.” Hatch was kept at a secure, undisclosed location for the duration of Inauguration Day.[32]

Political positions and votes[edit]


Sen. Hatch visits at the White House with Pres. Bush following the September 11 attacks.

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. Elements of the bill were criticised by the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee on civil liberties grounds, especially the new limits imposed on habeas corpus in capital cases.[33]

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.”[34]


Hatch voted in favor of the 2008 legislation that established the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).[35] In 2011, Hatch said that he "probably made a mistake voting for it", and also claimed "at the time, we were in real trouble and it looked like we were ready for a depression. I believe we would have gone into a depression."[36] He voted against the renewal of TARP in 2009, and the renewal was voted down by 10 votes in the Senate.

Hatch voted in favor of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.[37] The bill authorized $300 billion to guarantee mortgages and restore confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.[38]

Balanced budget amendment[edit]

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.[39][40]

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.[39] He also voted in favor of passing a Balanced Budget Amendment on at least 9 occasions.[41][42] 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.[39][43]

On January 26, 2011, Hatch introduced S.J. Res. 3[44]—a balanced budget amendment that:[45]

  • 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.[46]

Bank of Credit and Commerce International[edit]

In January 1990, the federal judge in a case against the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) accepted a 1989 plea bargain offered to the bank by the U.S. Department of Justice. The bank was to pay $15 million in fines and only admit that it had laundered drug money. Afterward, Hatch presented an impassioned defense of the bank in a speech on the Senate floor. It had been largely written for him by the bank's attorney Robert Altman. Hatch said, "The case arose from the conduct of a small number of B.C.C.I.'s more than 14,000 employees." Since 1989, Hatch and his aide, Michael Pillsbury, had been involved in efforts to counter the negative publicity that surrounded the bank. Hatch had also solicited the bank to approve a $10 million loan to a close friend, Mazur Hourani. In 1991, B.C.C.I. was shut down after regulators accused it of one of the biggest international financial frauds in history. Law enforcement officials accused the bank of making bribes throughout the third world to arrange government deposits. Clark Clifford, a former presidential advisor and Defense Secretary, and Altman, his law partner, were charged with taking bribes from B.C.C.I., in exchange for concealing its illegal ownership of First American Bankshares, a Washington holding company which Clifford chaired. Both had denied the charges, which were filed in New York State and Federal courts.[47] In 1992, in a "Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate," prepared by committee members, U.S. Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Hank Brown (R-CO), noted that a key strategy of "BCCI's successful secret acquisitions of U.S. banks in the face of regulatory suspicion was its aggressive use of a series of prominent Americans," Clifford amongst them.[48] The relationship with Hourani included the receipt of campaign contributions laundered through his employees, for which Hourani was fined $10,000, as well as his purchase of 1,200 CDs of Hatch's songs, for which Hatch received $3 to $7 each, and the management of a blind trust for Hatch. These led to a Senate Ethics Committee investigation, by which Hatch was eventually cleared.[49]

Confirmation of judges[edit]

As ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hatch fought hard to get conservative judges nominated to the Supreme Court. He took a leading role in the Senate confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas in October 1991. He 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."[50][51]

With regards to the Senate filibuster being used to stall President Barack Obama’s judicial appointments, Hatch voted against the November 2013 reforms, which eliminated the use of the filibuster on executive branch nominees and judicial nominees other than to the Supreme Court.[52] In September 2014, Hatch argued that the filibuster should be restored, saying: "We should get it back to where it was. You can see the destruction that has happened around here."[53] However, in November 2014, after the Republicans retook control of the Senate following the 2014 elections, Hatch wrote in The Wall Street Journal that "if Republicans re-establish the judicial-nomination filibuster, it would remain in place only until the moment that a new Democratic majority decided that discarding the rule again would be useful" and called for "the next Republican president to counteract President Obama’s aggressive efforts to stack the federal courts in favor of his party’s ideological agenda" by nominating conservative judges.[54]

As an opponent of the confirmation of Merrick Garland, Hatch submitted to the Deseret News an opinion piece stating that, after meeting with Garland, his opinion on blocking Garland had not changed; the piece was published prior to Hatch's meeting with Garland.[55] On March 13, 2016, regarding the nomination of Supreme court candidates by President Barack Obama, Orrin Hatch states "a number of factors have led me to conclude that under current circumstances the Senate should defer the confirmation process until the next president is sworn in".[56]

Recommendations for Nominees to the Supreme Court[edit]

In 1993, Hatch recommended Ruth Bader Ginsburg to President Bill Clinton to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Clinton had not previously considered Ginsburg and Hatch, as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, assured him that a Ginsburg confirmation would go smoothly. Hatch knew Ginsburg and knew she was a political liberal.[57]


As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Hatch has investigated the use of what are known as Section 1603 grants and tax credits. The Section 1603 program was created in President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package with the intention of subsidizing green energy production. Since 2009, the federal government has given out $25 billion in cash grants on behalf of the program. Hatch has investigated the program on several occasions. On June 9, 2016, his office requested from Department of Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) details about how companies use the program. In March 2016, Hatch asked the IRS and Treasury Department to demonstrate that the agencies use safeguards and coordinate with each other when reviewing applications for Section 1603 grants. Per his June letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the agencies have cooperated with Hatch’s investigation.[58]

Health care reform[edit]

Hatch opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[59] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[60] 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.[61] NPR called Senator Hatch a "flip-flopper" on this issue since in 1993 Hatch co-sponsored a bill along with 19 other Senate Republicans that included an individual insurance mandate as a means to combat healthcare legislation proposed by Hillary Clinton.[62][63] Senator Hatch was one of the first Senators to suggest that the individual mandate was unconstitutional and has promised to work on dismantling it when he becomes the Finance Committee Chairman.[64] Hatch is part of the group of 13 Senators drafting the Senate version of the AHCA behind closed doors.[65][66][67][68]

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.[69] 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.[70]

In 2003, Hatch supported the Medicare prescription drug benefit plan known as Medicare Part D.[71][72] Responding to criticism of the legislation during the 2009 debate on health care reform, Hatch said that in 2003 "it was standard practice not to pay for things" and that although there was concern at the time about increasing the deficit, supporting the bill was justified because it "has done a lot of good".[73]

On March 25, 2014, Hatch cosponsored the Emergency Medical Services for Children Reauthorization Act of 2014 in the Senate. The bill that would amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program through FY2019.[74] The bill would authorize appropriations of about $20 million in 2015 and $101 million over the 2015–2019 period.[75] Hatch argued that "children require specialized medical care, and that specialized care comes with unique challenges. The EMSC program helps ensure that some of our country's most vulnerable have access to the care they need, and I've been proud to support it all these years."[76]


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 Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).[77] He also proposed the DREAM Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants, who were children when their parents came to the United States.[78]

Hatch critiqued President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily shut down seven Muslim countries entered until better screening methods are devised. He reflected on his own family's immigration history and described the order as placing "unnecessary burdens" on families.[79]

LGBT issues[edit]

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that in 1977, Hatch told students from the University of Utah, “I wouldn't want to see homosexuals teaching school anymore than I'd want to see members of the American Nazi Party teaching school."[80] Hatch supported the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

In 2012, Hatch recommended and supported District Court Judge Robert Shelby, a Barack Obama appointee, though Utah Senator Mike Lee, voted against him in the Judiciary Committee. In 2013 Shelby overturned Utah's ballot Amendment 3, which constitutionally defined marriage as between a man and a woman.[81][82][83]

In April 2013, Hatch stated that he viewed same-sex marriage as "undermining the very basis of marital law", but declined to support a Federal Marriage Amendment and endorsed same-sex couples' right to form a civil union, stating that the law should "give gay people the same rights as married people".[84] Later that same year, Hatch voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation creating protected classes for those identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.[85][86]

Intellectual property[edit]

Hatch has long been a proponent of expanding intellectual property rights, and introduced the Senate version of the Copyright Term Extension Act in 1997.[87] Hatch believes intellectual property laws should, in general, more closely mirror real property laws, and offer greater protections to authors and creators.[87]

Hatch caused an overnight controversy on June 17, 2003 by proposing that copyright owners should be able to destroy the computer equipment and information of those suspected of copyright infringement, including file sharing, he stated that "This may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights."[88] In the face of criticism, especially from technology and privacy advocates, Hatch withdrew his suggestion days later, after it was discovered that Sen. Hatch's official website was using an unlicensed JavaScript menu from United Kingdom-based software developer Milonic Solutions. Milonic founder Andy Woolley stated that "We've had no contact with them. They are in breach of our licensing terms." Shortly after the publication of that story in Wired magazine, the company that runs Hatch's website contacted Milonic to start registration.[89][90]

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, Hatch once again attempted to outlaw websites which could be used for trademark and copyright infringement through the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). This bill would authorize the United States Department of Justice to blacklist and censor all websites that the department deemed to be dedicated to "infringing activities".[91]

Nuclear testing[edit]

Senator Orrin Hatch holds a press conference with Congressman Wayne Owens in March 1989 as part of their successful charge to win passage of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).
Hatch 110th Congress

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.[92] 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 Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 provided compensation for citizens injured by radioactive fallout from the tests.[92]

Religious freedom[edit]

Hatch was the main author of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which protected all religions' right to build church facilities on private property.[93] 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.

State sovereignty[edit]

Senator Hatch co-sponsored the Restoring the 10th Amendment Act (S. 4020), which would strengthen state rights under the 10th Amendment. The bill would provide special standing for state officials in challenging proposed regulations.[94]

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), which increases the requirements that must be met before national monuments can be designated.[95]


In 2017, Senator Hatch voted to prevent online and telecommunication privacy protections from taking effect.[96]

Other issues[edit]

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 tech

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.[97]


He was criticized for comments he made suggesting that the rich have an unfair financial burden in the current tax system.[98]

Fair Housing Act

In 1980, Hatch spoke in favor of rolling back provisions of the Fair Housing Act enforced by the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. 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.

The G8

In June 2013, Hatch commented on a G8 proposal that tax authorities in the world's largest economies openly share information among themselves in order to fight tax evasion. The proposal has strong suggestions about ways to make companies more transparent and governments more accountable for their tax policies. Hatch stated that transparency is always a good thing, but he would like to see a bill before giving any support.[99]

Video games[edit]

In 1999, Hatch called for a federal probe into manufacturers of violent video games, and proposed making the existing voluntary rating system for video games (ESRB) mandatory by federal law.[100]


In 2017, Hatch was one of 22 senators to sign a letter[101] to President Donald Trump urging the President to have the United States withdraw from the Paris Agreement. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Hatch has received over $470,000 from oil, gas and coal interests since 2012.[102]

Committee assignments[edit]

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.

Lobbying ties[edit]

Hatch's son Scott Hatch 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.[104] 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.[105] In 2009, the Washington Times reported that Hatch said "My son, Scott, does not lobby me or anyone in my office".[104]

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.[104]

Electoral history[edit]

Year Candidate Percent Candidate Percent Candidate Percent Candidate Percent Candidate Percent Candidate Percent
1976 ✓ Orrin Hatch (R) 54% Frank Moss (D) (inc.) 45% George Merl Batchelor (A) 1% Steve Trotter (L) <1%
1982 ✓ Orrin Hatch (R) (inc.) 58% Ted Wilson (D) 41% George Mercier (L) <1% Lawrence Kauffman (A) <1%
1988 ✓ Orrin Hatch (R) (inc.) 67% Brian Moss (D) 32% Robert Smith (A) 1% William Arth (SW) <1%
1994 ✓ Orrin Hatch (R) (inc.) 69% Pat Shea (D) 28% Craig Oliver (I) 2% Gary Van Horn (A) <1% Nelson Gonzalez (SW) <1% Lawrence Topham (IA) <1%
2000 ✓ Orrin Hatch (R) (inc.) 66% Scott Howell (D) 31% Carlton Edward Bowen (IA) 2% Jim Dexter (L) 1%
2006 ✓ Orrin Hatch (R) (inc.) 62% Pete Ashdown (D) 31% Scott Bradley (C) 4% Roger Price (PC) 2% Dave Seely (L) 1% Julian Hatch (DG) <1%
2012 ✓ Orrin Hatch (R) (inc.) 65% Scott Howell (D) 30% Shaun Lynn McCausland (C) 3% Daniel Greery (J) 1% Bill Barron (I) 1%
U.S. Senate Republican Primary election in Utah, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Orrin Hatch (inc.) 160,359 66%
Republican Dan Liljenquist 80,915 34%

Personal life[edit]

Hatch married Elaine Hansen on August 28, 1957. They are the parents of six children.[106]

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.[107][108]

Hatch is a founder and co-chair of the Federalist Society, a conservative organization of lawyers.[109]

Hatch serves as a member of the board of directors of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.[110]

Hatch gave Benny Zippel, an 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.[111]

Musical career and film appearances[edit]

Orrin Hatch plays the piano, violin and organ. Fueled by his interest in poetry, Hatch 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.[112]

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. The group also included Lynn Bryson and Alan Cherry.

Rock musician Frank Zappa composed a guitar instrumental entitled "Orrin Hatch On Skis," which appears on his 1988 album, Guitar.[113]

In March 1997 Orrin Hatch and Janice Kapp Perry jointly recorded an album of music with Tree Music entitled "My God Is Love".[114] Later albums with Perry included "Come to the Manger".

Hatch and Janice Kapp Perry co-wrote the song "Heal Our Land", which was performed at George W. Bush's January 2005 inauguration.[115][116]

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.[117] 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.[118]

In 2009, at the request of The Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg, Hatch authored the lyrics to "Eight Days of Hanukkah",[116] described by Goldberg as "a hip hop Hannukah song written by the senior senator from Utah."[119]

Despite their political differences, Hatch was a longtime friend of fellow senator Ted Kennedy, speaking at his memorial service and publicly suggesting Kennedy's widow as a replacement for Kennedy in the Senate.

Hatch appeared in a scene in the Parks and Recreation episode "Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington" alongside Cory Booker.


  • Orrin Hatch, The Equal Rights Amendment: Myths and Realities, Savant Press (1983)
  • Orrin Hatch, Higher Laws: Understanding the Doctrines of Christ , Shadow Mountain (June 1995) ISBN 978-0-87579-896-7
  • Orrin Hatch, Square Peg: Confessions of a Citizen Senator, Basic Books (October 15, 2002) ISBN 978-0-465-02867-2

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.

  • Orrin Hatch, Orrin Hatch, the L.D.S. Mormon Politician as Songwriter, text of an interview of Orrin Hatch by Phillip K. Bimstein, in Washington, D.C., August 14, 2003, transcribed by Jonathan Murphy, New York City, American Music Center, 2003, without ISBN.

Senator Hatch also is the author of several law review articles.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Burr, Thomas (November 5, 2014). "Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch to be 3rd in line for the presidency". The Salt Lake Tribune. 
  2. ^ Tracey, Michael (August 29, 2012). "'Hostile takeover': Ron Paul's fans react". Salon. Retrieved February 11, 2013. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. 
  3. ^ https://www.deseretnews.com/article/510037850/The-two-lives-of-Orrin-Hatch.html
  4. ^ http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/10/19/hatch.register/
  5. ^ https://www.deseretnews.com/article/510037850/The-two-lives-of-Orrin-Hatch.html
  6. ^ http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/10/19/hatch.register/
  7. ^ https://www.deseretnews.com/article/510037850/The-two-lives-of-Orrin-Hatch.html
  8. ^ Seipel, Brooke (August 12, 2017). "Hatch: My brother didn't die fighting Hitler for Nazis to go unchallenged today". Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Sen. Orrin Hatch's late brother honored at Pentagon - KSL.com". Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Senator receives shadow box in honor of brother". Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  11. ^ https://www.deseretnews.com/article/510037850/The-two-lives-of-Orrin-Hatch.html
  12. ^ https://www.deseretnews.com/article/510037850/The-two-lives-of-Orrin-Hatch.html
  13. ^ Canham, Matt (January 31, 2012). "The Political Birth of Orrin Hatch". Salt Lake Tribune. Salt lake City, UT. 
  14. ^ Richard C. Young (February 24, 2012). "Time to Vote Dan Liljenquist, and Dump Orrin Hatch". RichardCYoung.com. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Orrin Hatch (Elected 1976) Flips on Term Limits, Runs for 8th Term - U.S. Term Limits". U.S. Term Limits. 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2017-12-14. 
  16. ^ Haddock, Marc (March 22, 2010). "On Orrin Hatch's 76th birthday: his career in photos". Deseret News. Retrieved July 28, 2011. 
  17. ^ Davidson, Lee (September 21, 1989). "OWENS PROPOSES NAMING COURTS BUILDING AFTER MOSS". deseretnews.com. Deseret News. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  18. ^ “Hatch Will Become Utah's Longest-Serving Senator,” “The Associated Press,” November 8, 2006
  19. ^ "American Conservative Union Stands With Orrin". Orrinhatch.com. June 15, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
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  22. ^ "2012 Candidate Filings". Utah Lieutenant Governor Elections. April 25, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
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  24. ^ Dennis Romboy (June 26, 2012). "Sen. Orrin Hatch easily wins primary election against former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist". Deseret News. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  25. ^ Don't Make Me Think, by Steve Krug; Que Publishing, 2000; ISBN 0-7897-2310-7
  26. ^ Beth Marlowe (February 4, 2011). "Why He Matters". Who Runs Gov. Retrieved February 14, 2011. 
  27. ^ Molotsky, Irvin (June 28, 1987). "Inside Fight Seen over Court Choice". New York Times. 
  28. ^ Noble, Kenneth B. (September 11, 1987). "Hatch Assails ABA over Vote on Bork". New York Times. 
  29. ^ Hellmann, Jessie (May 12, 2016). "Hatch endorses Trump after meeting". The Hill. Retrieved October 10, 2016. 
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  36. ^ "Hatch tells CPAC that bailout vote averted depression". The Washington Post. 
  37. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 110th Congress (2007–2008) – H.R.3221". THOMAS (Library of Congress). Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  38. ^ Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008
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  40. ^ "Hatch pushes balanced budgets — again". The Salt Lake Tribune. January 16, 2011. 
  41. ^ "S.J.Res. 1 – Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment". Legislative Notice. United States Senate Republican Policy Committee. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Bill Summary & Status 105th Congress (1997–1998) S.J.RES.1". THOMAS. Library of Congress. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
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  46. ^ "Hatch, Cornyn, 19 Senators Introduce Balanced Budget Amendment to Constitution" (Press release). Orrin Hatch. January 26, 2011. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  47. ^ Lawmaker's Defense of B.C.C.I. Went Beyond Speech in Senate, New York Times, Dean Baquet and Jeff Gerth, August 26, 1992. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  48. ^ The BCCI Affair. A Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, by Senator John Kerry and Senator Hank Brown. December 1992. 102d Congress 2d Session Senate Print 102–140
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  50. ^ "The Real News". 
  51. ^ "Hatch Says Democratic Win Could Help Terrorists". Salt Lake Tribune. August 17, 2006. Retrieved April 1, 2007. 
  52. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (November 21, 2013). "In Landmark Vote, Senate Limits Use of the Filibuster". New York Times. 
  53. ^ Burgess Everett (September 28, 2014). "Confirmation battles are back". Politico. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  54. ^ Orrin Hatch; C. Boyden Gray (November 5, 2014). "After Harry Reid, the GOP Shouldn't Unilaterally Disarm". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
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  59. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress – 1st Session". United States Senate. Retrieved July 10, 2011. 
  60. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home: Votes: Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. United States Senate. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  61. ^ "The individual mandate is unconstitutional (Sen. Orrin Hatch)". thehill.com. The Hill. December 16, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2011. 
  62. ^ Rovner, Julie (February 15, 2010). "Republicans Spurn Once-Favored Health Mandate". NPR. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  63. ^ "Is the ACA the GOP health care plan from 1993?". @politifact. Retrieved January 15, 2017. 
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  65. ^ Bash, Dana; Fox, Lauren; Barrett, Ted (May 9, 2017). "GOP defends having no women in health care group". CNN. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  66. ^ Bryan, Bob (June 9, 2017). "'We have no idea what's being proposed': Democratic senator gives impassioned speech on GOP healthcare bill secrecy". Business Insider. Retrieved June 17, 2017. 
  67. ^ Litvan, Laura (June 13, 2017). "Senate Republicans Are Writing Obamacare Repeal Behind Closed Doors". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved June 17, 2017. 
  68. ^ Scott, Dylan (June 9, 2017). "Senate Republicans are closer to repealing Obamacare than you think". Vox. Retrieved June 17, 2017. 
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  72. ^ Milligan, Susan (November 25, 2003). "Senate nears passage of new Medicare drug benefit". The Boston Globe. 
  73. ^ Babington, Charles (December 25, 2009). "Democrats see GOP hypocrisy in health care debate". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on January 15, 2010. 
  74. ^ "S. 2154 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  75. ^ "CBO – S. 2154". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  76. ^ "Casey, Hatch Introduce Reauthorization of Emergency Medical Services for Children Program". Office of Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. March 26, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  77. ^ Kephart, Janice (October 3, 2010). "Senator Hatch Drops a Helpful and Thoughtful Border Security Bill". Center for Immigration Studies. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
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  80. ^ Canham, Matt (January 30, 2012). "1977: Hatch takes office as a freshman fighter". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  81. ^ Healy, Jack (December 29, 2013). "Utah Judge Unexpected as a Hero to Gay People". The New York Times. 
  82. ^ Cortez, Marjorie (December 23, 2013). "U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby a seasoned attorney, war veteran". DeseretNews.com. 
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  86. ^ "A new protected class?: LGBT workplace discrimination and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013". Lexology.com. 
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  89. ^ * Leonard Pitts, Computer-destroying idea might have some merit, Chicago Tribune, (June 24, 2003). "Orrin Hatch wants to blow up your computer. Well, OK, he didn't say "blow up" exactly. The actual verb was "destroy." So I guess he'd be just as happy to see it melted into a steaming plastic heap or dropped from the top of a very tall building. The main point is that your computer ceases to exist."
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Laurence J. Burton
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Utah
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