Press Releases

Press releases are archived according to their release date. For press releases by topic, please see the Issue Positions page.

Jan 27 2015

Hatch Issues Statement on Religious Liberty, Non-Discrimination

In working towards reasonable non-discrimination standards, we must not undermine religious liberty.

Washington, D.C.—Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, and member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement on religious liberty and non-discrimination:

“Religious freedom is a fundamental right of all Americans and is an essential part of how we define ourselves as a nation. In working towards reasonable non-discrimination standards, we must not undermine religious liberty.  I will continue to help ensure that legislation designed to promote greater equality includes robust religious exemptions and non-retaliation provisions."

Jan 27 2015

Release: Hatch, Blunt, Introduce Resolution to Raise Awareness of Internet Governance

The Internet must be kept open and free from undue influence by any one government or organization. This resolution will raise awareness and encourage the public to engage in the conversation about this incredibly important issue.

Washington, D.C.—Senator Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, Chairman of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force, and Senator Roy Blunt, member of the Senate Commerce Committee, issued the following statement upon introducing a resolution to increase awareness of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s announced intention to transition its stewardship role over the Internet’s domain name system to the global community.

 “If the United States is going to transition the stewardship of the domain name system to the global Internet community, we must ensure that stakeholders commit to abide by the strictest standards of transparency and accountability in Internet governance. The Internet must be kept open and free from undue influence by any one government or organization. This resolution will raise awareness and encourage the public to engage in the conversation about this incredibly important issue.”

“The rapid expansion of the Internet continues to drive economic growth and freedom of expression around the world,” Blunt said. “The United States plays a pivotal role in this development, including through our commitment to the bottom-up approach to Internet governance. The United States will not accept a proposal that violates our fundamental principles of Internet governance or replaces NTIA’s role with that of another government-led or inter-governmental organization.”

Background

The National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA), a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, holds a stewardship role over the domain name system by virtue of a contractual relationship with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit incorporated in 1998 to manage and oversee some of the Internet’s technical underpinnings. 

Specifically, NTIA has contracted out the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to ICANN.  These functions include the right and responsibility to assign domain names.  NTIA’s contract with ICANN is set to expire September 30, 2015.  While NTIA has not set a deadline for the IANA Functions Stewardship Transition to the global Internet community, it retains the option to extend the current contract – for up to four years – if specific conditions are not met. 

On February 8-12, 2015, ICANN will hold its 52nd public meeting in Singapore to continue discussions about the IANA Stewardship Transition. The Hatch-Blunt resolution designates the week of February 8th as “Internet Governance Awareness Week.”  In particular, the resolution will focus on three specific principles to be considered during the week:

  • Increasing public awareness regarding the March 14, 2014, announcement by NTIA declaring its intention to transition its stewardship role to the global, multistakeholder community;
  • Encouraging public education about the implications of the proposed transition; and
  • Calling the attention of the participants at ICANN’s next global meeting in Singapore to the importance of designing a transition proposal for the stewardship of key Internet functions in conjunction with accountability and governance reforms of ICANN.  

Washington, D.C.—Today, Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee announced their sponsorship of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Grazing Protection Act. The bill comes at a time when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has reduced permitted grazing to the lowest levels the range has seen, despite recognition of grazing as an important heritage of the region. This bill will preserve the historical uses of the land in addition to granting BLM clear authority to issue future grazing permits.

Senator Hatch said: "When President Clinton designated the Grand Staircase-Escalante a monument, I called it ‘the mother of all land grabs.’ But BLM’s ongoing campaign to reduce grazing here makes it look more like a hijacking. We cannot stand idly by while work that previous generations have done is being undermined."

Senator Lee said: “Grazing is a critical component of Utah's rural economy and this amendment, if adopted, would preserve the grazing rights that Utah families have used for generations."

Background

In 1996, President Clinton, without any input from the State of Utah, used the authority granted to the President under the Antiquities Act to issue a proclamation designating 1.7 million acres of land in Garfield and Kane Counties as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Grazing rights, however, remained grandfathered into the language of the proclamation, and the BLM’s existing Resource Management Plan for the area included a continuing grazing component. Unfortunately, over time BLM has issued fewer grazing permits and are now in the process of amending their management plan for the monument—where several options that would either decrease or eliminate grazing altogether are under consideration.

While Senators Hatch and Lee have introduced this legislation as an amendment to the Keystone pipeline in the Senate, they will introduce it as a standalone bill in the near future. Congressman Chris Stewart, R-Utah, plans to introduce a companion bill in the House.

Jan 22 2015

In Senate Floor Speech, Hatch Decries Roe v. Wade’s Tragic Legacy

"Two nights ago, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama spoke about the values that are at stake in the public policy choices we must make. Is there any value more important than life itself?"

WASHINGTON—Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, the senior Republican of the United States Senate, spoke on the Senate Floor today to decry the tragic legacy of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. During his remarks, Sen. Hatch noted that President Obama’s appeal to American values during his State of the Union ought to include the right to life: 

"Two nights ago, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama spoke about the values that are at stake in the public policy choices we must make. Is there any value more important than life itself? He spoke about expanding opportunities for individuals, but the first opportunity that must be secured is the opportunity for life itself."

You can view video here.

The full text of his remarks as prepared appears below.

Statement of Senator Orrin G. Hatch on the Roe v. Wade Decision

Mr./Mdm. President, today is the anniversary of a tragedy.  Forty-two years ago today, the Supreme Court announced its creation of a right to abortion for virtually any reason at virtually any time.  The result of that decision is a tragedy for our society, for our culture, and for each precious life lost.

Since even before America’s founding, the law was on a steady march toward protecting human beings before birth.  Through the 19th century, medical professionals and civil rights activists led a movement that succeeded in prohibiting abortion in every state except to save the mother’s life.  America had reached a consensus on the importance of protecting the most vulnerable. 

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court swept all of that aside, imposing upon the country a permissive abortion regime that the American people, to this day, have never chosen or accepted.

The debate over the morality, legality, or policy of abortion begins with one inescapable fact.  Every abortion kills a living human being.  Many have tried mightily to avoid, obscure, distract from, or ignore that fact but it will not go away.  Every abortion kills a living human being.  That fact informed President Ronald Reagan when he wrote a moving essay titled Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation in 1983.  He wrote: “We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life – the unborn – without diminishing the value of all human life.” 

The real question, President Reagan said, is not about when human life begins but about the value of human life.  I believe that remains the real question today. 

Today, the United States is one of only seven nations in the world to allow abortion into the sixth month of pregnancy and beyond.  That list of nations includes such champions of human rights as China and North Korea.  Yet the United States in 1948 voted in favor of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes in its preamble the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of “all members of the human family.”  Article 3 of the declaration states that “everyone has the right to life.” 

Words such as universal and inherent and all are unambiguous and clear.  Our embrace of the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings in 1948 stands in jarring contrast to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe just 25 years later that the life of any human being may be ended before birth.  

The Supreme Court might have thought in 1973 that it was settling the abortion issue.  By 1992, however, the Court conceded that the rules it created in Roe simply did not work and issued revised regulations in a case titled Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  The Court said that the contending sides in the abortion controversy should “end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.”

National division on any issue, let alone one so profound as the taking and the value of human life, will not end simply because the Supreme Court says so.  The division over abortion not only continues, but has remained largely unchanged even after dozens of Supreme Court decisions and four decades of insisting that abortion is a constitutional right.  The Supreme Court can render opinions on constitutionality, but it is limited in its ability to forge lasting consensus—that is the provenance of our great deliberative bodies where the people are truly represented.

More than 70 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in most or all circumstances.  That figure has not changed in 40 years.  What has changed is that more Americans today identify themselves as pro-life than pro-choice.  Large majorities favor a range of limitations on abortion and last November elected scores of new pro-life legislators at both the state and federal level. 

Mr./Mdm. President, we must not avoid the fundamental question of the value of human life, for no question is more important.  Do we still, as we once did, believe that every human being has inherent dignity and worth?  Two nights ago, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama spoke about the values that are at stake in the public policy choices we must make.  Is there any value more important than life itself?  He spoke about expanding opportunities for individuals, but the first opportunity that must be secured is the opportunity for life itself.

For many, the right to abortion is a symbol of progress.  However, the idea that an act resulting in killing a living human being should be held up as a step forward, as a light to guide our way strikes me as deeply misguided.  We should instead be deepening the conviction that all human beings have inherent dignity and worth.  That has been and should remain the foundation for our culture, society, and even our politics. 

In his 1983 essay, President Reagan wrote that “we cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion.”  Today’s tragic anniversary is a reminder of how our nation’s survival depends on respecting the essential dignity and worth of every individual. Resting in the balance is how we ultimately define who we are as a people and what we strive to be as a nation.

Washington, D.C.—Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the longest serving member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Chairman of the Republican High-Tech Task Force, took the Obama Administration’s top Intellectual Property nominees to task over important tech issues today, including patent troll legislation and trade secrets. Senator Hatch has identified these as top priorities for this Congress.

Following the President’s mention of protecting trade secrets as a priority in his State of the Union address, Senator Hatch asked IPEC nominee Danny Marti to detail his substantive plans for reducing trade secret theft and what he will do to work with Congress on that effort.

Senator Hatch asked USTPO Director nominee Michelle Lee about patent trolls, and her role in overseeing patent litigation reform. The questions included:

  • Whether she believes Congress should pursue patent troll legislation;
  • Whether she believes that preexisting legislation meant to deter abusive litigation has been successful; 
  • Whether she agrees that the Supreme Court’s cases in Highmark and Octane Fitness do nothing to ensure the recovery of fee awards from insolvent shell corporations;
  • What she would do to ensure that patent examinations, particularly those done by USTPO employees working at home, are of the highest quality. 

In a speech on the Senate Floor in November, Senator Hatch addressed these issues. Excerpts appear below.

On Patent Trolls: 

I look forward to working with those who are committed to making long-overdue reforms to our patent laws, including: mandatory fee shifting, heightened pleading and discovery standards, demand letter reforms, and a mechanism to enable recovery of fees against shell companies.

In addition, we must improve the quality of patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Low-quality patents are essential to a patent troll’s business model. I am optimistic that we can reach agreement on how best to improve the patent process.

We also need a high-functioning and well-funded USPTO.  A fully funded patent office, would – at the very least – mean more and better trained patent examiners, more complete libraries of prior art, and greater access to modern information technologies to address the agency’s growing needs.  All of these improvements would lead to higher-quality patents that are granted more quickly. And the good news is we can make these changes at no cost to taxpayers since the USPTO is a fee-generating agency.

On Trade Secrets:

We have made some progress in moving forward trade secret legislation. Earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism held a hearing on the importance of creating a private right of action for trade secret theft. And the House Judiciary Committee reported its bill, by voice vote, on September 17th.  Although we didn’t get the bill across the finish line this Congress, we are well positioned to move trade secret legislation early next year. It’s past time to enable U.S. companies to protect their trade secrets in federal court.