Statement by Orrin G Hatch of Utah. Released February 25, 1999

“When all is said and done, I must fulfill my oath and do my duty. I will vote "Guilty" on both Article One and Article Two.”

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“I do not take pleasure or gain any sense of gratification for the decision I must make today. For literally months, night and day, I have anguished over the serious accusations against President Clinton and what they mean for our country, our society, and our children.

“I know none of us enjoys sitting in judgment of the President, our fellow human-being, but that is our job, and we cannot ignore our responsibility. I believe most of us will do a sincere job of trying to fulfill our oath to do impartial justice.

“I have diligently striven to extend my deepest respect to the President -- indeed, to the Presidency -- throughout this process. I wanted to be able to support President Clinton. I believe that I have been more than fair. I have tried not to rush to judgment.

“All of my life I've been taught to forgive and forget. I've always tried to live up to that belief. As a leader in my church, I have dealt with a great number of human frailties, people with a wide variety of problems, and I've always believed that good people can repent of their sins and be forgiven.

“Indeed, to the dismay of some, I had expressed a hope and a desire early on in this constitutional drama that the President would acknowledge his untruthful statements. He chose to do otherwise and perpetuated his untruthfulness. Although some believe this is solely a private matter, I believe this is really about the President's fidelity to the oath of office and the rule of law.

“I have always been prepared to vote my conscience. Indeed, my concerns regarding the bad precedent a likely acquittal would set have been somewhat calmed by something the great constitutional scholar, Joseph Story, once wrote about acquittal in impeachment cases. Mr. Story noted that ‘in cases in which two-thirds of the Senate is not satisfied that a conviction is warranted, it would be far more consonant to the notions of justice in a republic, that a guilty person should escape than that an innocent person should become the victim of injustice from popular odium....’

“After weighing all of the evidence, listening to witnesses, and asking questions, I have concluded that President Clinton perjured himself and obstructed justice.

“Committing crimes of moral turpitude such as perjury and obstruction of justice go to the heart of qualification for public office. These offenses were committed by the chief executive of our country, the individual who swore to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.

“This great nation can tolerate a President who makes mistakes. But it cannot tolerate one who makes a mistake and then breaks the law to cover it up. Any other citizen would be prosecuted for these crimes.

“But, President Clinton did more than just break the law. He broke his oath of office and broke faith with the American people. Americans should be able to rely on him to honor those values that have built and sustained our country, the values we try to teach our children --honesty, integrity, being forthright.

“For 13 miserable months, we have struggled with the question of what to do about President Clinton's actions. The struggle has divided the nation.

“To those of us who have ourselves taken an oath to uphold the Constitution -- which represents the rule of law and not of men -- it should not matter how brilliant or popular we perceive the President to be. The Constitution is how we govern based on the principle of equality and not emotion. The Constitution is what guides us as a nation of laws and not personalities. The Constitution is what enables us to live in freedom.

“I will vote for conviction on both articles of impeachment -- not because I want to -- but because I must. Upholding our Constitution -- a sacred document that Americans have fought and died for -- is more important than any one person, including the President of the United States.

“When all is said and done, I must fulfill my oath and do my duty. I will vote "Guilty" on both Article One and Article Two.”