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Tipsheet

Former U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch Dead at 88

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

On Saturday night, the Hatch Foundation announced over Twitter that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) died at the age of 88-years old. The statement did not indicate a cause of death, rather it highlighted Hatch's accomplishment as the longest-serving senator in Utah's history. A more in-depth press release posted to the Hatch Foundation website noted he was "in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by family."

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Sen. Hatch served for 42-years and had also been the President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate, a position currently held by 82-year-old Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), who is not seeking re-election. 

The Hatch Foundation lists several more accomplishments. He served in the Senate during the administration of seven presidents and along with nine Senate Majority Leaders. "At the end of his term in January 2019, Senator Hatch was the ninth-longest-serving US Senator in American history."

He sponsored or cosponsored more than 750 bills that became law. "Upon his retirement, Senator Hatch held the distinction of having passed more legislation into law than any other Senator alive," the press release read. 

Among the laws Hatch authored or coauthored include "many of the most consequential laws of the past half century," such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which has been recently cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as justification to uphold religious freedoms in light of ObamaCare's HHS contraception mandate; the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act; the State Children’s Health Insurance Program; and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

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He also "received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States and numerous other awards and honors over the years, including 14 honorary degrees."

The press release included a statement from A. Scott Anderson, the chairman of the Hatch Foundation, who emphasized the senator's work across the aisle. 

"A man of wisdom, kindness, character, and compassion, Orrin G. Hatch was everything a United States Senator should be," he said. "He exemplified a generation of lawmakers brought up on the principles of comity and compromise, and he embodied those principles better than anyone. In a nation divided, Orrin Hatch helped show us a better way by forging meaningful friendships on both sides of the aisle. Today, more than ever, we would do well to follow his example. May we honor Orrin’s memory by living as he lived—committed to our country, to our principles, and to each other."

A memorable moment of Sen. Hatch from one of his last years in office was during the political hack job that were the confirmation hearing for now Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. As Matt covered at the time, Sen. Hatch made protesters go nuts by telling them to "grow up."

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Sen. Hatch retired in 2018 and was replaced by Sen. Mitt Romney, a fellow Republican who still serves today and is up for re-election in 2024.

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