- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Latest on Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s visit home in Utah (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says he expects President Donald Trump to repeal the newly named Bears Ears National Monument.

Hatch, a Republican, told Utah’s state House of Representatives on Wednesday that he recently met with Trump for about an hour, saying that the president is aware that Utah wasn’t included in discussions leading up to the declaration of the monument.

Hatch says if the monument is rescinded, Utah can then revisit the issue and decide what is best for the land.

Utah’s legislature recently passed a resolution urging Trump to repeal the monument.

President Barack Obama declared the Bears Ears monument in December, covering 1.35 million acres around a sacred tribal site with enhanced federal protections.


10:55 a.m.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is one of the best judges in the country and will protect religious liberties if he’s confirmed to the high court.

Hatch, a Republican, spoke to Utah’s state Senate on Wednesday about Gorsuch, a Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge.

The senator says the most important issue to consider in the 2016 presidential election was filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Hatch and Republicans last year refused to attend or support a hearing on President Barack Obama’s pick for the slot, Judge Merrick Garland.

Hatch wrote a guest editorial last May that was mistakenly posted before he met with Garland in which the senator said his meeting with Garland didn’t change his mind.

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