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.
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 a mission for the LDS Church 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.
U.S. Supreme Court
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.
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 some 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.
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.
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.
Orrin 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. He 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. (On the advice of U2 front-man Bono, he has put several of the songs under a pen name, "because it's you, man.") He co-authored "Everything And More," sung by Billy Gilman. In addition to his job as a United States Senator, Hatch has earned over $65,000 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 has even written works that count as hymns, often working with Janice Kapp Perry. Hatch appeared as himself in Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning drama Traffic (2000), 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.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."
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.
June 10th, 2011