President Donald Trump said Thursday that he would name Eugene Scalia as his next secretary of labor, tapping the longtime labor lawyer and son of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for a position with vast responsibility over the American workforce.
The appointment is likely to be contested by Democrats and labor unions because Scalia has a long record of representing Walmart and other companies that pushed back against unions and tougher labor laws. He was a top lawyer for the Labor Department in the George W. Bush administration and is now a partner in the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a prominent corporate law firm.
In a post on Twitter, Trump said Scalia “has led a life of great success in the legal and labor field and is highly respected.”
If confirmed, Scalia will replace Alexander Acosta, who was distrusted by anti-labor conservatives during his 2 1/2 years in the job. He said last week that he would resign amid scrutiny of his handling of a sex crimes case involving Jeffrey Epstein, a financier and one-time Trump friend, when Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida.
Acosta’s deputy, Patrick Pizzella, is to serve as acting secretary of labor when Acosta’s resignation becomes effective Friday.