SALT LAKE CITY
A procession of family, friends and colleagues gathered to honor the late U.S. Senator Orrin G. Hatch, who is laid to rest in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.
Hatch died April 23 in Salt Lake City at the age of 88 following a stroke. A wide range of parents, legal clients, campaign staffers, constituents and a friend from the mission he served for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1954 made tribute in an open casket ceremony held in the Utah Capitol’s marble floor rotunda.
Hatch’s funeral is scheduled for Friday at a Latter-day Saint chapel in Salt Lake City.
Born into poverty in Pennsylvania, Orrin Hatch rose to one of the highest political echelons, representing Utah in the Senate for more than four decades and at one time serving as acting Speaker of the House, third in line to the presidency.
Hatch ended his seven-term term as the Senate’s longest-serving Republican in 2019. South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond served longer, but only part of his term was as a Republican in due to party change.
Hatch was known to voters and colleagues as a staunch conservative who opposed abortion, took a particular interest in the Supreme Court, and supported tax and spending cuts. Throughout his career as a senator, he also repeatedly negotiated compromises with Democrats on policies such as disability protections, health insurance for children, and their Supreme Court nominees. As a former chairman and longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was part of the confirmation processes for more than half of the serving federal judges in U.S. history, according to his son, Brent Hatch.
A staunch opponent of abortion, Hatch helped shape the composition of the current court, which includes six justices appointed by Republican presidents and three appointed by Democratic presidents. He supported justices appointed by the Republican and Democratic presidents, including Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.
“He understood how important the judiciary was,” said Brent Hatch.
During his final term before deciding not to run for office in 2018, Hatch became a close ally of President Donald Trump, helping Shepherd pass a major tax code rewrite and working to downsize two national monuments in Utah, which had long been a top priority for Republicans in the state.
Hatch was also known for his parallel career as a singer and music recording artist with themes from his religious faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He is survived by his wife, Elaine, and their six children.
Brent Hatch said the family chose to stage Hatch’s lie at a state ceremony in Utah – rather than in Washington, DC, like his recently deceased fellow Sens Harry Reid, D- Nevada, and Bob Dole, R-Kansas – in recognition of his commitment. to his constituents.
He said he has heard an abundance of stories over the past week and a half of meetings people have had with his father, both politically and on a personal level, where he has offered advice and encouragement to voters who transcended politics.
Salt Lake City’s Mark and Kris Egan said Hatch had decades-long friendships, including their own. Before being elected senator, then-lawyer Hatch helped the couple adopt their son, Mark Egan said.
“He was empathetic, sympathetic, concerned and did a great job,” Egan said.