Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, speaks to reporters following a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017.

At the time of the federal convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was 81 years old. He performed his greatest work in Philadelphia as an elder statesman. Franklin‟s presence at the convention provided the leadership the delegates needed at a crucial time in the formation of the U.S. Constitution.

Sen. Orrin Hatch's position as chairman of the Finance Committee and as a member of the Judiciary Committee is pivotal at this time. Like Franklin, the elder statesman is performing his greatest work at a critical time in the nation's history.

There are a number of prominent individuals in Utah waiting for Sen. Hatch to retire. However, his knowledge, experience, judgment, leadership and seniority are needed at this time in Washington, D.C.

As the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Hatch is uniquely qualified to pass on the character, judgment and qualifications of those who should serve as justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. He approved the list of nominees put forth by President Donald Trump.

Sen. Hatch played a major role in the appointment and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as justice of the Supreme Court.

Sen. Hatch is the nation's leading sentinel watching over the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, particularly the “Free Exercise Clause” and the “Establishment Clause” in the First Amendment.

He helped draft and pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which “mandates that courts apply strict scrutiny when the government attempts to burden the free exercise of religion.”

As the former chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, the senator has done more to preserve the Constitution than any member of the Senate since its inception.

During his tenure in the Senate, Orrin Hatch has sponsored or co-sponsored over 750 bills, which have benefited Utah and the nation immeasurably.

He is a good, wise, honorable and moral leader at a time when these virtues are lacking and under assault.

Republican leaders and high-powered donors in Utah should encourage Sen. Hatch to seek re-election in 2018.

If the elite want Mitt Romney to challenge Donald Trump in 2020, they should form the Romney for President Committee instead of trying to persuade Orrin Hatch to retire when he is the most influential senator in Congress.

The elite do not need to pressure Sen. Hatch into retiring so Mitt Romney can use the Senate seat as a springboard to launch his 2020 presidential campaign. He already has the experience, prestige, resources and stature to seek the presidency.

Utah does not need to lose its greatest voice in Washington, D.C., in order to appease the supporters of Mitt Romney.

As noted by LaVarr Webb, Orrin Hatch is “arguably the most effective U.S. senator in U.S. history.”

An ideological war is raging in Washington, D.C., and Sen. Hatch is uniquely positioned to play a key role in this battle.

The people in Utah and the nation need an elder statesman at the helm who can work with members of Congress and the president in solving the enormous challenges facing America.

The senator's knowledge, experience, judgment, leadership and seniority are needed at this time in the nation's capital more than at any time in his career.

Let us do all we can to help this dedicated public servant remain in office for as long as possible.

Michael Chadwick is a former legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, a professional staff member of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Committee on the Judiciary in the U.S. Senate and the director of the National Bicentennial Program on the U.S. Constitution in Washington, D.C.