Eugene Scalia: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Eugene 'Gene' Scalia

Fox Business screengrab Eugene Scalia, son of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Eugene “Gene” Scalia is an attorney and the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He was announced as President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next Labor Secretary on Thursday.

Scalia, 55, is a partner in the Washington DC office of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Trump announced Scalia’s nomination Thursday.

“I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor,” he wrote. “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!”

Scalia previously served briefly as Solicitor of Labor under President George W. Bush from 2002 to 2003, though he was a recess appointment and was not confirmed by the Senate.

Scalia’s nomination comes just a week after former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned after coming under criticism for a lenient plea deal he negotiated for the wealthy sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 while he was a US Attorney. Acosta resigned days after Epstein was indicted on child sex trafficking charges.

Scalia is a management-side attorney who argued in court on behalf of the retail giant Wal-Mart to strike down a Maryland law that have required the company to spend more on health care for its employees, according to The Washington Post.

He is also known as “the godfather of the anti-ergonomics movement” due to his opposition to a Clinton era regulation aimed at protecting workers from repetitive stress injuries, Mother Jones reported.

Scalia has also spent much of his legal career fighting Dodd-Frank financial regulations created after the 2008 financial crisis, according to The Nation, filing seven lawsuits challenging the law.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Eugene Scalia is the Son of Late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Eugene Scalia speaks out about his father's passingOn 'The Kelly File,' eldest son reflects on the Supreme Court justice's life2016-02-17T02:57:03.000Z

Scalia is one of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s nine children.

In 2000, his law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher represented George W. Bush in the infamous Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case heard by his father, according to The Chicago Tribune, though the younger Scalia said he had “nothing” to do with the case.

After his father’s death in 2016, the younger Scalia urged Washington to learn from his conservative father’s famous decades-long friendship with the liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Mother Jones reported that Eugene also has a reputation for being “congenial with colleagues on the other side of the partisan divide.”

“Their ability to engage on ideas and yet respect one another’s abilities and maintain a friendship is an instructive lesson,” he told CNN. “And I think they would both heartily agree that we want to have people on two sides of an issue to explain what the right answer is.”

“It was heartening to me to see my father with a colleague he obviously had so much fun being around and speaking with,” Scalia said. “My father would seldom shy away from disagreeing, but nor would she. If you couldn’t give him a good argument, he might think less of you.”


2. Scalia is Trump’s Nominee to Be Labor Secretary

President Trump announced Scalia’s nomination on Twitter.

“I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor,” he wrote. “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!”

Scalia’s nomination comes after former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta stepped down amid criticism that his office cut a lenient plea deal with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein after the financier was arrested on child sex trafficking charges stretching back years. A federal judge previously found the plea deal illegal because Acosta did not consult with Epstein’s alleged victims.

Democrats and union leaders “strongly opposed” Scalia’s nomination, The New York Times reported, partly because of Scalia’s opposition to a Clinton era regulation that would have protected workers from repetitive stress injuries, which was later called the “ergonomics rule.” Scalia called the rationale for the regulation “junk science.”


3. Scalia is an Attorney Who Argued on Behalf of Wal-Mart in Health Care Lawsuit

Eugene Scalia on Metlifes taxpayer victoryMetlife lawyer and son of late Justice Antonin Scalia, Eugene Scalia, on Metlife’s win in the battle to remove ‘too big to fail.’2016-04-01T15:30:14.000Z

Scalia is a partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

According to his bio at the firm’s website, Scalia serves as the co-chair of the firm’s Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Group and a member of its Labor and Employment Practice Group. He has co-chaired the latter group for 12 years.

Scalia has a national practice where he handles labor, employment, regulatory, and appellate matters, according to the firm.

In 2006, Scalia successfully fought to get a law struck down in Maryland that would have required Wal-Mart to pay more for health care for its employees in the state, The Washington Post reported.

He also defended SeaWorld against federal safety regulations that were created after an orca whale killed a trainer during a 2010 live show, Mother Jones reported. Scalia argued in that case that SeaWorld had no more responsibility to defend trainers than the NFL had a responsibility to prevent injuries on the field.

He has also represented companies like Boeing, Metlife, Ford, UPS, and Wynn Casinos, as well as the American Petroleum Institute.


4. Scalia Has Been Called Wall Street’s ‘Secret Weapon’ in Fight Against Financial Regulation

Scalia has built much of his career as a fierce fighter against financial regulations, like the Dodd-Frank law put in place to regulate financial firms after the 2008 financial crisis.

By 2013, Scalia had filed seven different lawsuits challenging portions of the Dodd-Frank law, The Nation reported.

The report described Scalia as Wall Street’s “secret weapon” and an “absolute bulldog” in the fight against Dodd-Frank regulations.

His lawsuits have been funded by large trade associations, according to the Nation.

Mother Jones reported that Scalia won three of his first six lawsuits challenging the law and “single-handedly” slowed the rollout of the regulations in the law.

Lisa Donner, the executive director of the watchdog group Americans for Financial Reform, told the outlet that Scalia “created this sense that we’re paralyzed, because if we write a rule we’re just going to be reversed.” She added that the constant threat of lawsuits “cast a real chill” over Wall Street regulators.


5. Scalia Previously Worked at Labor & Justice Departments

Scalia served as the Solicitor of Labor under President George W. Bush from 2002 to 2003. He was responsible for all litigation and legal advice pertaining to Labor Department rules and laws.

Scalia was never confirmed by the Democratically-controlled Senate, The New York Times reported. Instead, he was installed as a recess appointment, bypassing the Senate.

He also served as a special assistant to attorney general Bill Barr under President George H. W. Bush at the Justice Department, according to his firm’s bio. Barr is also Trump’s current attorney general.

The New York Times reported that Trump picked Scalia after he was recommended by several conservatives, including Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton.

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