Orrin Hatch, the Republican from Utah who served in the United States Senate for 42 years, has died today at age 88.
Rise To Prominence: Born March 22, 1934 in Pittsburgh, Hatch was the son of a metal foamer and the first member of his family to attend college—he received a BA in history from Brigham Young University and his degree in history. law from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He initially practiced law in Pittsburgh before moving to Utah in 1969.
Hatch made his first run for public office in Utah in 1976 when he challenged Frank Moss, a sitting Democratic senator for three terms. During the election, Hatch pledged to push for term limits in the US Senate — but once in Washington, he successfully ran for reelection six times before retiring in 2019. Hatch holds the record for longest serving Republican in the U.S. Senate and Utah’s longest serving senator.
A Dominant Power Broker: During his years on Capitol Hill, Hatch chaired several prominent committees, including the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he played a key role in securing Clarence Thomas’ confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court during a controversial 1991 hearing. In 1993, he crossed the aisle to recommend President Bill Clinton appoint Ruth Bader Ginsburg to fill a Supreme Court vacancy — Clinton ignored her prior to Hatch’s input.
Hatch became Senate president pro tempore in January 2015, the second-highest member of the Senate (after the Vice President, who also serves as Senate President) and third in the line of presidential succession.
One of Hatch’s notable legislative achievements was to coordinate bipartisan support for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Emergency Medical Services for Children Reauthorization Act of 2014. He advocated expanding the H-1B visa program. for migrant workers and for a balanced budget change for the US Constitution, but was an outspoken opponent of abortion and criticized President Donald Trump’s 2017 immigration ban from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Hatch’s stance on LGBT rights has evolved over the years, from his 1977 opposition to having gay and lesbian teachers to a 2018 Senate floor speech supporting programs for LGBT youth.
Hatch received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump in November 2018, three months before his retirement from the Senate. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, won the election for Hatch’s Senate seat.
Photo: Thomas Hawk / Flickr Creative Commons
This post Orrin Hatch, 42-year-old Utah senator, dies aged 88 was original published at “https://www.benzinga.com/government/22/04/26777125/orrin-hatch-utah-senator-for-42-years-dies-at-88”