“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,” Trump wrote. “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!”
If he is confirmed, Scalia would replace Alexander Acosta, who is set to resign as the agency’s chief on Friday amid the ongoing fallout over the prosecution of financier Jeffrey Epstein. Acosta oversaw a controversial plea deal for Epstein in 2008 that saw him serve limited jail time despite being accused of sexually abusing dozens of young women and girls.
Epstein is facing a spate of new federal sexual abuse charges and was arrested earlier this month.
Politico was the first to report the news of Scalia’s likely nomination. NPR also noted that Trump offered Scalia the job, and Scalia accepted the position.
Scalia, 55, is a partner at a law firm in the Washington area and specializes in labor and employment cases, according to Reuters. Scalia also served as a special assistant to now-Attorney General William Barr when Barr was previously the head of the Justice Department in the 1990s.
The New York Times notes that Scalia could face a tough confirmation battle and sharp opposition from Democrats. The attorney has a long history representing large corporations, including Walmart, and he also represented George W. Bush during the landmark Bush v. Gore case in front of the Supreme Court in 2000.
The outlet also reported that multiple conservative allies of the president had recommended the younger Scalia for the role. The president met with him privately on Thursday afternoon to discuss the job, according to The Washington Post.
Acosta will be replaced on Friday by his deputy, Patrick Pizzella, who will serve as the Labor Department’s acting director until a Trump nominee is confirmed.