From the Sunday Tribune's DC Notebook section:
The Senate voted 98-0 recently to pass the Voting Rights Act. Sen Orrin Hatch was quoted in The Hill newspaper as saying, "I think the Voting Rights Act is the most important civil-rights bill in history."Just give 'em the finger, Orrin.
But in 1982 Hatch was a leading opponent of the bill. He fought for changes as a member of the Judiciary Committee, was one of four who voted against a compromise version of the bill in committee, and argued the bill could lead to reverse discrimination. The New York Times quoted Hatch in June 1982 warning that if the Voting Rights Act were renewed, "racial gerrymandering and racial block voting will become normal occurrences."
Sen Jesse Helms, of North Carolina, tried to filibuster the measure but, when it was obvious that the vast majority of senators supported the bill, dropped his opposition. Hatch went a step further and actually voted for its passage.