Press Releases

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Jun 30 2014

Hatch on Supreme Court Decision on Religious Freedom

Utah Senator Helped Author Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Led Legal Brief

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a current member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a lead author of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), issued the following statement today after the Supreme Court decided that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule mandating that women’s preventative services be covered by all health insurance plans – as a requirement of the President’s health law – is a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
“Today, the Supreme Court emphatically rejected President Obama’s brazen efforts to circumvent the Constitution, bypass the people’s elected representatives, and govern above the law. The Court’s unanimous decision demonstrates how the President’s actions contradicted both constitutional text and longstanding precedents that enshrine the Senate’s legitimate role in federal appointments. The Court has reaffirmed the Senate’s vital advice-and-consent role as a check on executive abuses. I applaud the Court’s willingness to stand up to President Obama’s flagrantly unconstitutional power grab. This decision strengthens my determination to stand up for the separation of powers against the President’s disturbing pattern of lawlessness.”
U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.) introduced legislation today to reauthorize the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) program for another five years (through (FY2019) at the current funding levels. The TBI program provides assistance to millions of Americans suffering from brain injuries. These injuries, which are generally the result of a bump, blow or jolt to the head, range from mild to severe and can lead to lifelong complications or even death. Hatch created the TBI program with late-Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) in 1996.
“Howard was a dear friend. I was honored to serve with him in the Senate and later work closely with him when he served as President Reagan’s White House Chief of Staff. His nickname – the Great Conciliator – was truly earned, and Howard was able to utilize his strong relationships with Senators on both sides of the aisle to help address the important issues facing Tennessee and our nation. But the strongest relationship he forged in the Senate was with that of his future wife, Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum, an incredible woman and a respected colleague, to whom Elaine and I offer our deepest condolences. It was truly a privilege to learn from and serve alongside Howard. I know I’m far from alone among his many friends and former Senate colleagues in missing him deeply.”
“Although I oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation, I have always believed that marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman. In my view, the U.S. Constitution does not dictate a particular definition of marriage, so I believe such judgments are properly left to the citizens of each State. Although I am not surprised by today’s decision, I disagree with the court’s reasoning and hope the Supreme Court ultimately adheres to the original understanding of the Constitution and allows each State to define marriage for itself.”