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Trump officially nominates Eugene Scalia as Labor secretary pick

The Hill logo The Hill 8/27/2019 Morgan Chalfant
a close up of a building: Trump officially nominates Eugene Scalia as Labor secretary pick © Greg Nash Trump officially nominates Eugene Scalia as Labor secretary pick

President Trump on Tuesday officially nominated longtime labor lawyer Eugene Scalia to be secretary of Labor.

Trump said back in July that he planned to tap Scalia, who is the son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, for the post days after Alexander Acosta resigned as Labor secretary.

Scalia served as the top legal officer at the Department of Labor during the George W. Bush administration and previously was a special assistant to Attorney General William Barr during his first stint as the top law enforcement officer under the George H.W. Bush administration.

Scalia, currently a partner at law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, has a career history of representing businesses and fighting to roll back labor regulations. One of his more prominent cases involved representing Walmart as the retail giant fought a Maryland law on employee health care.

His appointment has triggered opposition from labor unions because of his work for businesses in labor fights. Many Democrats are also likely to oppose his nomination, though the Republican majority in the Senate means his confirmation is likely, barring tremendous controversy during the process.

The White House on Tuesday described Scalia as "a renowned labor, employment, and regulatory lawyer," pointing to his private and federal government experience.

Scalia will face a confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee sometime after lawmakers in the upper chamber return to Washington following the summer recess.

The committee will need to vote on approving him before his nomination reaches the Senate floor for a full vote, meaning it will be at least weeks before he takes over at the department, provided the vote advances him there.

Acosta resigned under pressure on July 12 over his handling of the first sex crimes case involving Jeffrey Epstein when he was a federal prosecutor in Florida. Epstein, who was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges earlier this year, took his own life in his Manhattan jail cell earlier this month.

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