President Donald Trump has announced that he will nominate Eugene Scalia, the son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to be the new secretary of labor.
What’s the background?
Alexander Acosta, Trump’s former secretary of labor, resigned following criticism of his involvement in a 2008 plea deal for accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Under the terms of this deal, Epstein would spend just 13 months in jail, pay out settlements to victims, and would register as a sex offender. Another aspect of the deal gave immunity to “any potential co-conspirators.”
Acosta at first defended his role in the plea deal, saying that if he had not intervened Epstein would not have been punished at all. However, on July 12 Acosta announced that he was stepping down from his role, saying that he did “not think it is right and fair for this administration’s Labor Department to have Epstein as the focus, rather than the incredible economy that we have today.”
What happened now?
Trump announced on Thursday that he would be nominating Scalia to replace Acosta.
In a series of tweets, Trump said:
I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor. 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. 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!
In addition to being the son of a conservative giant on the court, Scalia is accomplished in his own right. He worked in the Department of Labor in the George W. Bush administration as the department’s top lawyer.
According to his biography at the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher where he is a partner, Scalia also “served as special assistant” to current U.S. Attorney General William Barr between 1992 and 1993. Barr was also the U.S. attorney general at that time.