President Trump on Thursday night announced he’s nominating attorney Gene Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to replace Alex Acosta as secretary of labor.
Scalia, 55, is currently a partner in the Washington office of the international law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He is expected to face headwinds from Democrats in his Senate confirmation hearings, in part because he has routinely represented major corporations in key cases involving workers’ rights.
In 2005, for example, Walmart hired Scalia to defend against whistleblower lawsuits by employees who alleged wrongdoing in the company.
Scalia served as the chief legal officer, or Solicitor, for the Labor Department under President George W. Bush. In that role, he oversaw not only all Labor Department litigation, but also provided “legal advice on rulemakings and administrative law,” according to his biography on Gibson Dunn’s website.
Additionally, Scalia was a special assistant to Attorney General Bill Barr — when he was the attorney general for the first time, in President George H.W. Bush’s administration. Scalia was also a speechwriter for Education Secretary William Bennett.
“I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor,” Trump wrote in a tweet late Thursday. “Gene has led a life of great success in the legal and labor field and is highly respected not only as a lawyer, but as a lawyer with great experience working with labor and everyone else.”
Trump added: “He will be a great member of an Administration that has done more in the first 2 ½ years than perhaps any Administration in history!”
Acosta stepped down last Friday over his past involvement in a highly controversial 2008 plea deal for financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is now facing federal sex trafficking charges.
Acosta’s resignation will become official on Friday, when his deputy, Patrick Pizzella, will take over as acting Labor secretary, pending Scalia’s confirmation.