Orrin Hatch: This dangerous idea gaining traction in American politics could harm religious liberty

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  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    April 14, 2019 6:48 a.m.

    "Hatch is absolutely incorrect. Superstition does not deserve special consideration."

    ... and neither does skepticism. You should be able to disbelieve what you like. And others should be able to believe as they like without being attacked by those who feel themselves intellectually superior.

    People should be allowed to believe what they like - so long as their doing so doesn't deprive another their right to believe as their conscience dictates. It doesn't matter if religious symbols offend you.... if you don't believe, they don't mean anything... and shouldn't offend. If your offended by someone else beliefs, then thats a personal issue. Not societies.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    April 13, 2019 12:14 p.m.

    @Ranch wrote,

    "Orrin, the antipathy isn't towards "religious liberty", the antipathy is against bigotry using religion as an excuse."

    And with that sentence, you've summarized the entire "religious liberty" movement.

    @water rocket wrote,

    "Everybody discriminates in one way or another, and that is perfectly fine, since it guarantees our freedom to choose."

    You see it as "fine" if a white elementary school principal turned away a black child?

    Would it be "fine" if an LDS bishop turned away a black family that wanted to be baptized?

    Would it be "fine" if an Alabama high school principal refused to let the valedictorian speak at her graduation--because she was LDS?

    Is it "fine" when a Texas town approves a building permit for a Baptist church but turns down one for a similarly situated LDS meetinghouse because of alleged concerns about residential neighborhood traffic?

    Is it "fine" when it's YOUR ox that is being gored?

  • Flipphone , 00
    April 12, 2019 1:06 p.m.

    The path to Communism.... Democrat, Liberal, Socialist, Marxist and then Communist. The Democrat party has moved passed Liberalism and now is embarrassing Socialism.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 12, 2019 10:51 a.m.


    Hatch is absolutely incorrect. Superstition does not deserve special consideration.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2019 10:20 a.m.

    @lost in DC
    "You mean doing what Biden suggested?"

    I wish they did what Biden suggested.

    Biden didn't say to wait until a new President/Congress was in power, he said to wait after the November election and do it during the lame duck period.

    He also said that if the President were to nominate one anyway to fill a vacancy then the Senate had a duty to consider them. The Biden Rule is really just that if there's a really late vacancy it might be better to do it in November-December after the election so that the confirmation process is less politicized.

    If they followed the Biden Rule, Garland would've been confirmed in December 2016. They did not. Conservatives just like misrepresenting Biden's speech to justify their theft of a Supreme Court seat.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 11, 2019 10:43 a.m.

    Hatch is absolutely correct.

  • JimDabakis Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2019 8:54 a.m.

    Senator Hatch has the audacity to complain about court packing after his leadership in the Merrick Garland fiasco? Bold.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2019 7:45 a.m.

    In our increasingly secular society. politics is becoming the pre-eminent religion and political correctness as defined by one sector of the political spectrum the most vociferous sect.

  • DoomHamster Syracuse, UT
    April 10, 2019 11:47 p.m.

    Mr. Hatch, this is what happens when politicians dump the rules, procedures, and conventions that were put in place to encourage cooperation and safeguard the best interests of the people.

    Party A blocks a supreme court nominee to further their own agenda, Party B escalates and packs the court. Party B exercises the nuclear option, Party A reciprocates as soon as they have the chance. Party A issues executive orders to circumvent congress, Party B rescinds them and issues their own.

    This is what happens when politicians like yourself cease to care about the constitution and genuflect at the altar of their Party.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    April 10, 2019 3:25 p.m.

    "But wasn’t it Sotomayor who said the court NEEDED the views of a Puerto Rican female? (or something of the sort), so obviously at least 1 liberal on the court says up front she will not check her personal beliefs at the door." -lost in DC

    That seems like a pretty bizarre interpretation of Justice Sotomayor's purported statement. I think she was essentially saying that diversity is a desirable trait for the SCOTUS to have.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    April 10, 2019 3:02 p.m.

    Thank you. FDR’s intended approach was to use numbers to get what he wanted. the intent from the current crop of liberals is to use numbers to overcome the results of the last election, democracy deshmockracy in their eyes if it gets in their way.

    We see by the horrible Roe v Wade decision that the impact is not short tenured. It is hard to get the court to reverse itself. I suspect you can name more, but Dred Scott and “separate but equal” (I forget the name of the actual case, was it Brown v the Board?) are the only two that come to mind for me.

    Trump’s nominees have dissented from each other. What is much more rare is seeing any type of dissension from the liberals on the bench – it does occur, but rarely.

    Imp7 says they should check their personal beliefs at the door, and I agree with him (for once). But wasn’t it Sotomayor who said the court NEEDED the views of a Puerto Rican female? (or something of the sort), so obviously at least 1 liberal on the court says up front she will not check her personal beliefs at the door.

  • water rocket , 00
    April 10, 2019 3:01 p.m.

    Just a thought, but I think it was the White Horse prophesy that said in the last days the constitution would "hang by a thread". Today we see well intentioned people attacking almost every right we are guaranteed by the Constitution, such as the right to bear arms, free speech, the right to choose who we will do business with, rent to, or even vote for. EVERYBODY discriminates in one way or another, and that is perfectly fine, since it guarantees our freedom to choose. The problem arises when some people feel their "rights" to make their choices supersedes the "rights of others" to make dissimilar choices.

  • emb Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 10, 2019 2:58 p.m.

    The torch has been passed.

  • There You Go Again St George, UT
    April 10, 2019 2:02 p.m.

    Orin may be gone but he still knows which buttons to push.

    Religious liberty?

    Dangerous ideas?

    The guy Americans fear is the integrity, ethics, morally challenged republican currently occupying the WH.

    The same guy Orrin and other republicans say is the best there ever was.

  • rubbergoose Bountiful, UT
    April 10, 2019 1:55 p.m.

    Justice Hugo Black wrote the "big wall between Church and State" judgement that had nothing to do with the original intent of the Framers of the Constitution. Hatch is right. It is freedom to exercise ones religion without interference from the Federal government, not freedom from religion. The Federal government, including the Supreme Court, is not supposed to promote one religion over another. They have no authority to shut down peoples or communities free exercise of religion.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 10, 2019 1:45 p.m.

    Orrin, the antipathy isn't towards "religious liberty", the antipathy is against bigotry using religion as an excuse. When you allow discrimination in the name of "religious liberty" against one group of people, you MUST allow it against ANY group of people - otherwise, you place the one belief above the others, thus establishing a government religion.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    April 10, 2019 12:59 p.m.

    Lost.... the ultimate goal of "court packing" was by FDR to change the current ratio of a given court to reflect the then Presidents bias. Whether that number is 9, 15, or even 99.... what is important is the ratios of conservative versus progressive people sitting on the court. The actual number doesn't really matter. And over time will be deflected by future administrations.

    And what is more ironic is the two nominee's that Trump had seated in the Supreme court have had dissenting opinions from each other several times so far. Fortunately most of the people seated on the court have been willing to be open minded on cases. Some have been consistently unmoved in their opinions regardless - Clarance Thomas being one. But most have surprised at one time or another.

    Bottom line any discussion of FDR style "packing" would be very short in their impact, and would just mean congress spends more time confirming nominations... but the end result would likely be muted.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    April 10, 2019 12:52 p.m.

    @sman - columbia, MS
    April 10, 2019 12:24 p.m.
    The Reason the Left and Right share no core principles, is becouse We have taking out anything Positive about our country in our Schools. WE did away with the pledge of Allegiance and School Prayer.

    WHERE do you get your information? Or lack of information? Schools, in both Utah and Mississippi (even in Columbia) recite the Pledge in class. It's no longer mandatory that kids participate. They can opt out without penalty. Most schools have silent prayer time where kids can pray-or not. BTW. You, and most Republicans would be the first one's screaming if school kids were forced to pray to Allah, Buddha, Krishna, etc. No one is stopping anyone from praying in school. The courts stopped schools from forcing kids to pray in school. Our country is not hurting because of what happens in schools. It's hurting because of the people we've elected to office.

  • sman columbia, MS
    April 10, 2019 12:24 p.m.

    The Reason the Left and Right share no core principles, is becouse We have taking out anything Positive about our country in our Schools. WE did away with the pledge of Allegiance and School Prayer. Everything today is met with scepticism Country and God.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    April 10, 2019 11:56 a.m.

    What's gotten lost in the shuttle, is their actual job description and qualifications. Judges are human. They all have personal views on many facets. However, they are supposedly required to check their personal views at the courthouse door. They are supposed to rule on the law. Period. There should be no Republican or Democratic judges. No Jewish, Catholic or Mormon judges. No Pro choice or anti-abortion judges. Just judges. Justice is supposed to be blind. But, recently that's not the case. Time to get politics and religion out of the justice system.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    April 10, 2019 11:37 a.m.

    Mr. Hatch,

    Of course, it is your right to say whatever you want about whatever topic you want to address; but let's be perfectly clear — you have no moral authority whatsoever on the topic of the judiciary in general, and the Supreme Court in particular. Your unconscionable, hyper-partisan actions with regard to Merrick Garland obliterated any moral integrity you might have previously had.

    Your blatant fear-mongering is not justified, either; the Supreme Court has generally done a good job of balancing the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause, and of generally ensuring that religious freedom is protected, while also addressing in a reasonably equitable and even-handed way issues where there are apparent conflicts between religious freedom and other rights. This is not likely to change, whether there are 9, or 11, or 13 Justices, as long as their records show them to be generally qualified and fair.

    Sadly, you just can't seem to resist the temptation of trying to place your thumb on the scales of justice, even after the parade has passed you by.

  • tabuno Clearfield, UT
    April 10, 2019 11:34 a.m.

    The former Senator Orrin Hatch may have had a strong argument against court-packing that is until the U.S. Senate changed its own long-standing tradition of the filibuster using what is called the "nuclear option." Now that only a majority of the U.S. Senate is required to confirm a U.S. federal judge, the long history of necessarily bi-partisan candidates making for balanced judicial appointments, there will a growing need to re-balance the federal court system as one political party will now be able to pack the judicial system with political appointees. Until a U.S. Constitutional amendment is passed to bring back the filibuster to the U.S. Senate, it will be necessary to bring more reasonable fairness to the U.S. Supreme Court by re-balancing the Court from recently drastically altered process introduced originally by the Democrats and now significantly pushed by Republican in getting partisan judges onto the U.S. Supreme Court and elsewhere in the federal judicial system.

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    April 10, 2019 11:16 a.m.

    Nothing is more dangerous for America than The Democrat party moving further to the left.

    Or for the Republican Party moving farther to the right.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    April 10, 2019 11:02 a.m.

    "Religious Liberty/Freedom" to guys like Hatch is code word to allow religious organizations to discriminate against those that they deem unworthy. Please tell us that Hatch's opinions are not going to become a regular item in the D-News. Most didn't believe what he told us in his 42 years in Congress. Not going to start now

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    April 10, 2019 10:28 a.m.

    "I have spent a lifetime defending religious liberty in the public square.”

    Your vote to confirm RBG belies that statement

    One real threat to religious liberty is kamala harris and others of her ilk, who think membership in a catholic service organization (Knights of Columbus), disqualifies someone from a federal judgeship

    Bigger Bubba
    Ben can only do what nancy gives him permission to do

    LDS 2
    Did you not read the article? Are you unaware of how court packing works? It deals with increasing the number of justices on the SCOTUS, not the conservative/ liberal nature of the justices appointed to fill vacancies. As BO infamously said, elections have consequences.

    MAGA – I suppose you chose to ignore all the news reports showing how well the economy has done under trump – see my posts on other threads for citations from the AP, CNBC, WSJ, and others

    TJefferson, frozen
    Garland? You mean doing what Biden suggested?

    Again, packing the court does not refer to nominating those with a certain viewpoint to the bench, but increasing the size of the bench in order to overcome opposing viewpoints. Garland not being confirmed was not court packing, but doing what Joe said

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    April 10, 2019 9:57 a.m.

    Hatch even gave the most praise from Republicans of Merrick Garland as a potential nominee before going along with the plan to refuse a vote on anyone as a means of stealing a seat. He has no moral authority on this issue.

  • Flipphone , 00
    April 10, 2019 9:55 a.m.

    Nothing is more dangerous for America than The Democrat party moving further to the left.

  • Chessermesser West Valley City, UT
    April 10, 2019 9:49 a.m.

    There are big problems in America. The Left and the Right don’t share the same core values any more. That is why there is this call from the Left to amend the Constitution. These shared values allowed for compromise in the past.

    We are transforming from a moral society to an immoral one. 60 years ago most everyone could agree on families, our freedom of religion, our freedom to bear arms, our freedom of assembly, and our freedom of speech.

    Now we have those who don’t believe in any of these things. These people believe that they are so right in their views that they want to stop discussion - violently in some cases.

    Americans are criticizing everyone and everything.

    People are redefining things that are abhorrent as good and acceptable.

    Yelling, screaming, spitting, pushing, kicking, lying, and shouting obscenities is becoming the new norm. National politicians are encouraging others to verbally assault others in public places. Politicians are talking about feelings as if they are facts, obfuscating to the public about their political enemies.

    Only with respect, civility, and courtesy in any discourse can both sides of any matter come to understanding and compromise.

  • MacMama Sandy, UT
    April 10, 2019 9:30 a.m.

    Those of you invoking Merrick Garland- you have Joe Biden to thank for that. AKA the “Biden Rule”.
    "Some will criticize such a decision and say it was nothing more than an attempt to save a seat on the court in the hopes that a Democrat will be permitted to fill it. But that would not be our intention, Mr. President, if that were the course we were to choose in the Senate — to not consider holding hearings until after the election. Instead, it would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is under way, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over.
    ...some people "may fret that this approach would leave the Court with only eight members for some time. But as I see it, Mr. President, the cost of such a result, the need to reargue three or four cases that will divide the justices four to four are quite minor compared to the cost that a nominee, the president, the senate, and the nation would have to pay for what would assuredly be a bitter fight, no matter how good a person is nominated by the President, if that nomination were to take place in the next several weeks."

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 10, 2019 9:28 a.m.

    This op-ed is utter nonsense. The talk to change the composition of the Supreme Court, an initiative that will go nowhere, has nothing to do with religious liberty. Hatch is throwing out a red-herring. What Hatch wants is to protect certain religious interests, not to ensure true religious freedom. This op-ed is devious and deceptive. As an aside, if you look at the history of Court decisions, expanding individual freedom from government intervention and large corporate interests has come less from the conservative eras of the Court than from the liberal eras. Hatch is trying to appropriate those gains for his right wing cause. Don't be deceived.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    April 10, 2019 9:22 a.m.

    Orin, I want to take you seriously. I too want to ensure people of all religious conscience have their rights to believe, or not believe, protected. But then you go off on this rant about "packing" the courts. This with the context that most of the religious right voted for Trump for the very specific purpose of packing the court. In fact it was you, who by your own adminssion was a highly qualified candidate to the Supreme Court, blocked Presidents Obama's rightful pick to the court..... with the expressed and admitted intention to shift the courts direction.

    You yourself have overtly acted to shape the courts by "packing" them with people who you felt would oppose another groups opinion. So to say "court packing" is a problem, when you yourself practiced this very same ploy, rings hollow.

    I support your quest to ensure all people of faith have religious freedom. But I dislike the hypocrisy of your actions here. Packing the courts can be wrong situationally. It needs to be wrong whomever or whenever.

  • Light and Liberty St George, UT
    April 10, 2019 9:05 a.m.

    Amen, Hatch! The progressives are on a steady march for government to enshrine into law everything from gay marriage, infanticide, and the retraction of individual rights. Their arrogance and lack of self worth are plied to destroy good and reward evil. For them, religious liberty, the bedrock of American liberty and freedom, can only be seen through the eyes of Socialistic thought and action, not as an individual right. The only way to achieve their ends is to destroy thoughts that are inimical to that end, religious freedom. The state is all that matters.
    Trump 2020. Lee 2022. Romney, we will see!

  • Liberal Mormon Salt Lake City, UT
    April 10, 2019 8:59 a.m.

    Orrin, kindly stay silent. Your opinions are no longer valued or valid. You've shown your hypocrisy on literally every issue, and now I shall add this one to the list. You've absolutely invalidated yourself. Stay out in the pasture, buddy. Thank you, Your eternally disappointed constituent.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    April 10, 2019 8:39 a.m.

    Bigger Bubba,

    Interesting, and you don't think the Republicans do the same thing. American politics is a business, not a government. The politicians and their politics are in it for the money and wonderful life style, not so much to service the nation or the people. It is a competition of Walmart and Target. One has to fight for the discounts to stay alive.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    April 10, 2019 8:36 a.m.

    'Advice' from orrin about fairness in the USSC rings hollow after what they did to Merrik Garland.

    But then orrin has never been one to take his own advice. Lifetime politicians like him are the problem, not the solution. We were foolish to elect him the first time, let alone the next however many.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    April 10, 2019 8:22 a.m.

    Hypocrisy, thy name is Hatch.

    And thy party is the GOP, who have been explicit about "court packing" for at least the past two elections, including denying nominated Merrick Garland a hearing!

    Like your Leader, Mr Trump, the GOP is brazen about violating ethics and laws and thumbing their noses at the Constitution and the Institutions that have kept this country free and great!

    MAGA my eye!

  • gatsby Salt Lake City, UT
    April 10, 2019 8:10 a.m.

    Excellent Senator Hatch. I appreciate your unwavering support of religious freedom demonstrated while in office, and now having retired. I'd love to read transcripts of the talks given at your upcoming symposium.

  • Bigger Bubba Herriman, UT
    April 10, 2019 8:07 a.m.

    When Dems are not in power, some of them want to change the rules so that they can win next time (e.g., court packing, popular vote, etc.). Very juvenile. Let's hope that Ben McAdams brings some sanity to the party.