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Scalia’s Record Raises Questions About His Ability to Lead Labor Department

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By AFSCME Staff Explore the Issues Workers' Rights

Eugene Scalia, the son of deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, could well be next to lead the nation’s Labor Department. He was picked for the position last week by President Donald Trump.

But it’s less than clear whether he has what it takes to be an advocate for workers and their families. A corporate attorney, Scalia has devoted most of his professional career to fighting on the side of corporations and against the government, defending Wall Street firms against financial and labor regulations. How this may have prepared him to fulfill the mission of the Labor Department, which is to be an advocate for workers and worker rights, is unclear. In his government roles, including as a top lawyer in the Labor Department, Scalia seems to have been less than inclined to stand up for working people.

“Working people need a labor secretary who has their backs,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a statement. “It remains to be seen, however, if Eugene Scalia would demonstrate this kind of leadership. His record, both in private law practice and as the Labor Department’s top attorney, indicates support for unchecked corporate power and neglect of the welfare of working people.”

Scalia would succeed Alexander Acosta, who resigned this month amid controversy over his handling years ago of a sex crimes case involving Jeffrey Epstein.

Trump has yet to formally nominate Scalia, who would need to be confirmed by the Senate. “AFSCME members will be watching closely during his confirmation hearing to see if he would lead the Labor Department in a way that is consistent with its mission,” Saunders said.