The U.S. Senate confirmed Eugene Scalia as Labor Department secretary on Sept. 26.
Following a hearing on Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Labor narrowly cleared the latest hurdle needed to fill the cabinet position that’s been without permanent leadership for nearly two months.
Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, was approved during a meeting of the Republican-led Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Sept. 24. The hearing will likely be the last stop for the Virginia-based attorney before he’s confirmed by the Senate.
“Businesses and workers need a secretary of Labor who will steer the department with a steady hand and I believe Mr. Scalia can do so,” committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said during the hearing.
However, Scalia’s appointment passed narrowly with a 12-11 vote, where it garnered no support from the slim Democratic minority.
The committee’s ranking member, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., described Scalia’s career as anti-worker and beholden to corporate interests. “If there’s one consistent pattern in Mr. Scalia’s long career—it’s hostility to the very workers he would be charged with protecting, and the very laws he would be charged with enforcing if he were confirmed,” she said in a statement.
From 2002 to 2003, Scalia served as solicitor general of the Labor Department, where he served as the department’s top lawyer during the George W. Bush administration. Scalia is currently a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and has specialized in labor, employment and regulatory compliance disputes.
While working in private practice, Scalia was an opponent of government regulation, even at times challenging the department he will likely lead, a strong indication he will continue the Labor Department’s deregulatory stance started under Alexander Ascosta, who resigned in July.
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Benjamin Glick is ACG Global’s marketing and communications associate.