Orrin Hatch

American politician (1934–2022)

Orrin Grant Hatch (March 22, 1934 – April 23, 2022) was an American politician and lawyer. He was a U.S. Senator from Utah from 1977 until 2019. He was a Republican and a Mormon.[1][2] After the Republicans won control of the Senate in the 2014 elections, Hatch became President pro tempore on January 6, 2015.[3]

Orrin Hatch
90th President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2019
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded byPatrick Leahy
Succeeded byChuck Grassley
United States Senator
from Utah
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byFrank Moss
Succeeded byMitt Romney
Chairperson of the Senate Finance Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byRon Wyden
Succeeded byChuck Grassley
Chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2005
Preceded byPatrick Leahy
Succeeded byArlen Specter
In office
January 20, 2001 – June 6, 2001
Preceded byPatrick Leahy
Succeeded byPatrick Leahy
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Preceded byJoe Biden
Succeeded byPatrick Leahy
Chairperson of the Senate Health Committee
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1987
Preceded byHarrison Williams
Succeeded byTed Kennedy
Personal details
Orrin Grant Hatch

(1934-03-22)March 22, 1934
Homestead, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedApril 23, 2022(2022-04-23) (aged 88)
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Elaine Hansen
(m. 1957)
Alma materBrigham Young University
University of Pittsburgh

Hatch ran for President of the United States in 2000, but he dropped out of the race after losing the first primary election. He was seen as a possible candidate for the United States Supreme Court. On January 2, 2018, Hatch announced his retirement from the Senate after low approval ratings.[4]

Early life


Hatch was born in Homestead, Pennsylvania on March 22, 1934 to Jesse Hatch and Helen Frances.[5][6] He was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[5] Hatch studied at Brigham Young University and at the University of Pittsburgh. He worked as an attorney in Pittsburgh and in Utah.[5]

United States senator (1977–2019)


In 1976, in his first run for public office, Hatch was elected to the United States Senate. He defeated Democrat Frank Moss, who had been a Senator for three terms, or 18 years. During the campaign, Hatch said that Moss had been in the Senate too long. He joked, "What do you call a Senator who's served in office for 18 years? You call him home."[7] Hatch argued that many Senators, including Moss, had lost touch with the people who voted for them.[8] Hatch himself held office for 42 years.

In 1995 Hatch was the leading figure behind the Senate's anti-terrorism bill.[9] This bill was passed in response to the Oklahoma City Bombing. As a senior member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, Hatch was also important 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.”[10]

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.[11][12] He 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.[13]

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.[14]

In 2018, Hatch announced that he would retire after seven terms in the Senate.[15]

Supreme Court


Hatch has long expressed interest in serving on the U.S. Supreme Court, but due to his age decided not to express any interest anymore.[16] 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.[17] Despite that, he vocally supported Robert Bork, who was chosen instead.[18]

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.[19]

Personal life


Hatch married Elaine Hansen on August 28, 1957. They had six children.[20]

Hatch was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hatch served as a member of the board of directors of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.[21]

In November 2018, Hatch received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump.[22]

Hatch played the piano, violin and organ. Hatch had written songs for many. He co-authored "Everything And More", sung by Billy Gilman. Hatch earned over $10,000 as an LDS music recording artist while he was senator.[23]

Hatch died on April 23, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah from problems caused by a stroke. He was 88 years old.[24]


  1. "Early Life and Family Gallery". Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  2. Davidson, Lee (5 October 2005). "Wine, beer, liquor cash flows into Hatch coffers". deseretnews.com. Deseret News. Archived from the original on 20 September 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  3. Hatch named President pro tempore-designate - Salt Lake Tribune
  4. Martin, Jonathan (January 2, 2018). "Orrin Hatch to Retire From Senate, Opening Path for Mitt Romney". New York Times. New York, NY.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Helsel, Phil (April 23, 2022). "Orrin Hatch, longest-serving Republican U.S. senator, dies at 88". NBC News. Archived from the original on April 24, 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  6. Tracey, Michael (August 29, 2012). "'Hostile takeover': Ron Paul's fans react". Salon. Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh.
  7. Richard C. Young (February 24, 2012). "Time to Vote Dan Liljenquist, and Dump Orrin Hatch". RichardCYoung.com. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  8. Haddock, Marc (March 22, 2010). "On Orrin Hatch's 76th birthday: his career in photos". Deseret News. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  9. American Jewish Year Book. New York: American Jewish Committee. 1997. p. 146. ISBN 0-87495-111-9.
  10. "Hatch Lauds Passage of FISA Modernization Act" (Press release). Orrin Hatch. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on November 5, 2010. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  11. Jamshid Ghazi Askar (January 27, 2011). "Sen. Orrin Hatch sponsors balanced-budget amendment for 17th time". Deseret News. Archived from the original on October 5, 2018. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  12. "Hatch pushes balanced budgets — again". The Salt Lake Tribune. January 16, 2011.
  13. "Bill Summary & Status – 107th Congress (2001 – 2002) – S.1291". THOMAS (Library of Congress). Archived from the original on February 18, 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  14. "S. 4020 (111th): Restoring the 10th Amendment Act". govtrack.us. Civic Impulse. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  15. McCarter, Joan (January 2, 2018). "Orrin Hatch announces retirement from Senate". Daily Kos. Oakland, CA.
  16. Beth Marlowe (February 4, 2011). "Why He Matters". Who Runs Gov. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on March 6, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  17. Molotsky, Irvin (June 28, 1987). "Inside Fight Seen over Court Choice". New York Times.
  18. Noble, Kenneth B. (September 11, 1987). "Hatch Assails ABA over Vote on Bork". New York Times.
  19. Don't Make Me Think, by Steve Krug; Que Publishing, 2000; ISBN 0-7897-2310-7
  20. "Orrin Hatch". NNDB. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  21. "Orrin Hatch". Juggle.com. Archived from the original on January 18, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  22. "Trump To Honor Antonin Scalia, Orrin Hatch, GOP Megadonor With Medals Of Freedom". HuffPost. 10 November 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  23. "Brown earned $700,000 for book". boston.com. The Boston Globe. June 16, 2011. Archived from the original on January 4, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  24. Helsel, Phil (April 23, 2022). "Orrin Hatch, longest-serving Republican U.S. senator, dies at 88". NBCNews.com. Retrieved April 23, 2022.

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