Sen. Hatch rewrites history

May 13, 1991|By New York Times

IF PROOF were needed that the proposed civil rights bill is not a "quota bill," Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah provided it last year.

Although he has opposed rights bills in the past, Hatch joined in marathon compromise efforts with Senate Republicans and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights to produce a bill he recommended to the White House.

President Bush vetoed the bill anyway, insisting that it would induce employers to hire by racial quotas rather than defend their practices in court.

Now, however, Hatch rejoins the "quota bill" crowd and retroactively denounces his impressive work product.

The other evening on the "MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour," he told a reporter:

"When I sat down for days and nights, 18-hour days and nights, with Bill Coleman and other leaders for the civil rights bill, and went over it time and time again and tried to resolve this problem last year in a legitimate, honest way, we came to the conclusion that, yeah, they really want quotas, they really do."

The senator is free to take up the "quota bill" cry if it suits him for some political reason.

But it ill suits him to rewrite history, denying the constructive role he played last year in seeking an acceptable law.

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