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Eugene Scalia Confirmed by Senate as Labor Secretary

Westlake Legal Group 00scalia1-facebookJumbo Eugene Scalia Confirmed by Senate as Labor Secretary United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Senate Scalia, Eugene Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Labor Department (US) Labor and Jobs Appointments and Executive Changes

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Eugene Scalia, a longtime lawyer representing corporations, to be labor secretary.

Mr. Scalia, a son of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, was chosen by President Trump in July, days after Mr. Trump’s first labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, announced that he would resign.

The Senate confirmed Mr. Scalia by a 53-to-44 margin.

Since Mr. Scalia’s nomination, Democrats and labor groups have questioned whether his background is consistent with the interests of American workers.

Mr. Scalia, 56, has spent much of his career at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a prominent corporate law firm, where perhaps his best-known client was SeaWorld. He helped represent the company after a killer whale attacked and killed a trainer in 2010 and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that SeaWorld should have taken additional steps to protect its workers.

Mr. Scalia and his team argued unsuccessfully in federal appeals court that the company had sufficient training and safety measures and that it was up to its trainers to manage the remaining risks they faced on the job.

Mr. Scalia also took a leading role opposing a Clinton administration regulation known as the “ergonomics rule,” which was intended to protect workers against repetitive stress injuries. He dismissed the basis for the rule as “unreliable science” and contended that labor unions had promoted it in order to “force companies to give more rest periods, slow the pace of work and then hire more workers (read: dues-paying members).”

Democrats blocked Mr. Scalia’s nomination to serve as the Labor Department’s top lawyer in 2001 largely as a result of his efforts to oppose the rule. George W. Bush eventually installed him at the department through a recess appointment, but he served for only about a year before returning to private practice.

Mr. Scalia also represented Walmart in a fight against a Maryland law that would have required it to spend more on health care and Boeing in a case involving a union that accused it of violating labor law.

He helped represent a coalition of financial services industry groups that sued to block an Obama administration rule requiring brokers to act in their clients’ best interest when advising them on retirement accounts.

During his Senate confirmation hearing this month, Mr. Scalia acknowledged his long track record representing corporations but argued that he was working diligently on behalf of his clients rather than to advance his own views. He said he was capable of working just as hard on behalf of American workers, citing the issue of ergonomics, on which he said he worked closely with the Labor Department’s career staff during his tenure there.

“The lawyer who had the lead on the issue of ergonomics wrote a letter, joined a letter from former career officials supporting my nomination,” Mr. Scalia said.

In the letter, 13 former Labor Department officials wrote that Mr. Scalia “was very supportive of enforcement litigation to vindicate the rights of workers.”

Democrats also questioned Mr. Scalia at his confirmation hearing over his views on gay rights, citing a college newspaper column in which he wrote that parenting by a lesbian couple should not be treated “as equally acceptable or desirable as the traditional family life.”

Mr. Scalia implied that his views on the subject had changed in the nearly 35 years since he wrote the column. “I would not write those words today, in part because I now have friends and colleagues to whom they would cause pain,” he said.

The vacancy at the Labor Department arose after Mr. Acosta faced new questions about his role a decade ago as a federal prosecutor in Florida — specifically, a plea deal reached with the financier Jeffrey Epstein in a sex-crimes case.

The White House and employer groups had at times grown impatient with the pace at which Mr. Acosta advanced largely pro-business changes to regulations. But many of the department’s leading initiatives were either completed or close to being finalized before Mr. Scalia’s confirmation.

That includes a modest expansion in the ranks of those eligible for overtime pay after a federal judge struck down the more ambitious expansion the Obama administration had planned. The department has also put forward a rule making it harder to hold companies liable for employment law violations committed by their contractors or franchisees.

Businesses had been eager to see these measures completed so that a congressional review period would end before elections that could produce a Democratic Congress and president.

Mr. Scalia will help complete some of the department’s remaining regulatory initiatives. But his top priority as labor secretary may be to defend newly finalized rules against likely legal challenges from worker groups.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Eugene Scalia Confirmed by Senate as Labor Secretary

Westlake Legal Group 00scalia1-facebookJumbo Eugene Scalia Confirmed by Senate as Labor Secretary United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Senate Scalia, Eugene Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Labor Department (US) Labor and Jobs Appointments and Executive Changes

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Eugene Scalia, a longtime lawyer representing corporations, to be labor secretary.

Mr. Scalia, a son of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, was chosen by President Trump in July, days after Mr. Trump’s first labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, announced that he would resign.

The Senate confirmed Mr. Scalia by a 53-to-44 margin.

Since Mr. Scalia’s nomination, Democrats and labor groups have questioned whether his background is consistent with the interests of American workers.

Mr. Scalia, 56, has spent much of his career at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a prominent corporate law firm, where perhaps his best-known client was SeaWorld. He helped represent the company after a killer whale attacked and killed a trainer in 2010 and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that SeaWorld should have taken additional steps to protect its workers.

Mr. Scalia and his team argued unsuccessfully in federal appeals court that the company had sufficient training and safety measures and that it was up to its trainers to manage the remaining risks they faced on the job.

Mr. Scalia also took a leading role opposing a Clinton administration regulation known as the “ergonomics rule,” which was intended to protect workers against repetitive stress injuries. He dismissed the basis for the rule as “unreliable science” and contended that labor unions had promoted it in order to “force companies to give more rest periods, slow the pace of work and then hire more workers (read: dues-paying members).”

Democrats blocked Mr. Scalia’s nomination to serve as the Labor Department’s top lawyer in 2001 largely as a result of his efforts to oppose the rule. George W. Bush eventually installed him at the department through a recess appointment, but he served for only about a year before returning to private practice.

Mr. Scalia also represented Walmart in a fight against a Maryland law that would have required it to spend more on health care and Boeing in a case involving a union that accused it of violating labor law.

He helped represent a coalition of financial services industry groups that sued to block an Obama administration rule requiring brokers to act in their clients’ best interest when advising them on retirement accounts.

During his Senate confirmation hearing this month, Mr. Scalia acknowledged his long track record representing corporations but argued that he was working diligently on behalf of his clients rather than to advance his own views. He said he was capable of working just as hard on behalf of American workers, citing the issue of ergonomics, on which he said he worked closely with the Labor Department’s career staff during his tenure there.

“The lawyer who had the lead on the issue of ergonomics wrote a letter, joined a letter from former career officials supporting my nomination,” Mr. Scalia said.

In the letter, 13 former Labor Department officials wrote that Mr. Scalia “was very supportive of enforcement litigation to vindicate the rights of workers.”

Democrats also questioned Mr. Scalia at his confirmation hearing over his views on gay rights, citing a college newspaper column in which he wrote that parenting by a lesbian couple should not be treated “as equally acceptable or desirable as the traditional family life.”

Mr. Scalia implied that his views on the subject had changed in the nearly 35 years since he wrote the column. “I would not write those words today, in part because I now have friends and colleagues to whom they would cause pain,” he said.

The vacancy at the Labor Department arose after Mr. Acosta faced new questions about his role a decade ago as a federal prosecutor in Florida — specifically, a plea deal reached with the financier Jeffrey Epstein in a sex-crimes case.

The White House and employer groups had at times grown impatient with the pace at which Mr. Acosta advanced largely pro-business changes to regulations. But many of the department’s leading initiatives were either completed or close to being finalized before Mr. Scalia’s confirmation.

That includes a modest expansion in the ranks of those eligible for overtime pay after a federal judge struck down the more ambitious expansion the Obama administration had planned. The department has also put forward a rule making it harder to hold companies liable for employment law violations committed by their contractors or franchisees.

Businesses had been eager to see these measures completed so that a congressional review period would end before elections that could produce a Democratic Congress and president.

Mr. Scalia will help complete some of the department’s remaining regulatory initiatives. But his top priority as labor secretary may be to defend newly finalized rules against likely legal challenges from worker groups.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Overtime Pay Eligibility Is Widened in New Federal Rule

Westlake Legal Group 24overtime2-facebookJumbo Overtime Pay Eligibility Is Widened in New Federal Rule Wages and Salaries Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Pizzella, Patrick overtime Labor Department (US) Labor and Jobs

The Labor Department announced Tuesday that it had finalized a rule expanding overtime pay eligibility to up to 1.3 million workers.

Under the new rule, most salaried workers who earn less than about $35,500 per year will be eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay, up from the current threshold of about $23,700.

The rule is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1.

The Obama administration raised the threshold considerably higher in 2016 in an effort to cover millions more workers, but a federal judge first suspended and later invalidated the rule, which never took effect.

The current salary limit was set by the George W. Bush administration in 2004.

“This rule brings a common-sense approach that offers consistency and certainty for employers as well as clarity and prosperity for American workers,” Patrick Pizzella, the acting labor secretary, said in a statement.

Many employers and business groups had supported an increase in the limit but argued that the Obama threshold of about $47,500 was simply too high. They warned that it would require businesses to suddenly pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in overtime compensation or raises intended to move workers above the new threshold.

“Had the Obama administration adopted a number that had three in front of it, they would not have been sued,” said Tammy McCutchen, one of the authors of the Bush increase, who is now a lawyer at the management-side firm Littler Mendelson.

The Obama administration had argued that its rule was in line with historical increases, and that it left fewer salaried workers eligible for overtime than had been eligible in 1975.

“While the administration may be trumpeting this rule as a good thing for workers, that is a ruse,” Heidi Shierholz, a former Labor Department chief economist who helped develop the Obama rule, said in a statement. “In reality, the rule leaves behind millions of workers who would have received overtime protections under the much stronger rule, published in 2016, that Trump administration abandoned.”

The Trump administration had appealed the decision that struck down the Obama rule but asked the court to suspend its appeal while it worked on a replacement.

In an analysis of the rule that the Labor Department proposed in March, which closely resembles the final version announced Tuesday, Ms. Shierholz estimated that the Trump rule would yield workers $300 million to $600 million per year in wage increases over the next decade. But that amount was over $1 billion per year less, on average, than the wage gains that the Obama rule would have produced, according to her estimates.

Salaried workers who make more than the legal threshold can also be eligible for overtime pay if they lack substantial decision-making authority. But the Obama administration argued that employers had either ignored this so-called duties test or circumvented it by giving low-level workers loftier titles, which made the salary threshold the de facto standard.

President Trump’s first nominee for labor secretary, Andrew F. Puzder, strongly opposed a significant increase in overtime eligibility. But R. Alexander Acosta, who replaced Mr. Puzder after his nomination collapsed amid personal controversy, took a more conciliatory tack. Mr. Acosta endorsed a threshold in the low $30,000s during his 2017 confirmation hearings.

Mr. Acosta resigned as labor secretary in July amid criticism of his handling of a sex-crimes case against the financier Jeffrey Epstein when Mr. Acosta was a federal prosecutor in South Florida. On Tuesday, a Senate committee voted to advance the nomination of Mr. Acosta’s proposed successor, Eugene Scalia, along party lines. The full Senate could vote within days on Mr. Scalia, a son of the Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016.

The Trump administration has felt a sense of urgency about the proposed rule.

Congress can reject a rule within a mandated review period. Many in the business community did not want to risk giving a future Democratic Congress and president a chance to replace the Trump rule with a higher salary limit if Republicans lose power in next year’s elections. With the rule now completed, the congressional review window will close within a few months.

The rule could nonetheless become a campaign issue given the president’s stated commitment to protect workers.

“Through this rule, the Trump administration is breaking its promise to hardworking Americans,” Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said in a statement. “By failing to stand up for workers and expanding the overtime rule, the president is failing to put workers first and is driving down the value of work.”

In its 2016 rule, the Obama administration sought to adjust the salary limit automatically every three years to keep up with rising wages, an approach the new rule abandons in favor of simply urging the department to update the limit “more regularly.” Ms. McCutchen said there was nothing in the law underlying the rule to justify automatic increases.

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Labor Dept. Moves to Expand Religion Exemption for Hiring and Firing

Westlake Legal Group 15LABOR-facebookJumbo Labor Dept. Moves to Expand Religion Exemption for Hiring and Firing Pizzella, Patrick Labor Department (US) Labor and Jobs Homosexuality and Bisexuality Government Contracts and Procurement Freedom of Religion Executive Orders and Memorandums discrimination Civil Rights and Liberties

The Labor Department has proposed a rule that would allow more federal contractors to base employment decisions on religion, a move that rights advocates said could be used to discriminate against workers for all manner of reasons.

The proposal, announced on Wednesday, seeks “to provide the broadest protection of religious exercise recognized by the Constitution and other laws,” the Labor Department said in a statement. It applies to a wide variety of organizations and companies that claim a religious goal as part of their mission.

Naomi Goldberg, policy research director of the Movement Advancement Project, a think tank focused on equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, said the “proposed rule would permit taxpayer-funded discrimination.”

“Examples of the type of discrimination this action condones include firing unmarried pregnant workers, workers who may not be coreligionists or who can’t sign a statement of faith, unmarried cohabiting workers and L.G.B.T. workers,” Ms. Goldberg said.

In addition to this rule, the Trump administration is challenging other protections for gay and transgender workers. In three cases the Supreme Court will hear this fall, the administration is arguing that federal civil rights law does not prohibit employers from discriminating against such workers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had previously ruled that such discrimination is illegal.

Religious nonprofit organizations that receive federal contracts are currently exempt from rules covering other contractors that prevent religious discrimination. For example, a social services agency with a Jewish affiliation that receives a federal contract to feed disadvantaged children can insist on hiring a rabbi to oversee preparation of kosher food.

The proposed rule appears to expand the scope of hiring and firing decisions in which contractors can invoke their religious tenets. While it was previously unclear if an agency that receives a federal contract could insist on hiring a Jewish janitor, the proposed rule appears to resolve that question in favor of the employer.

The proposed rule would also extend the ability to discriminate in hiring and firing to all federal contractors, not just nonprofits, that identify their mission as including a religious purpose and practicing religion to advance that purpose.

Under this definition, a privately held, for-profit company like Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts chain whose owners have said they have sought to organize the company around their Christian beliefs, could refuse to hire a gay manager without risking the loss of a federal contract, which would normally preclude such discrimination.

The public has 30 days to comment on the proposed rule, after which the department can issue a final version. Many advocates said they would expect a variety of legal challenges if it is enacted.

Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which advocates for the rights of people to express their religious faith, said the order was necessary to better align the religious exemption that exists for federal contractors with the broader exemption for religious organizations that exists under federal civil rights law. Under current law, a religious organization that is not a contractor could refuse to hire workers who do not share certain religious beliefs.

Thousands of companies have federal contracts, for food and information technology services, the provision of furniture and military equipment, and much more.

Holly Hollman, general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Freedom, a group that opposes government-funded religion, said the rule would not override state laws intended to protect certain workers, which typically have primacy over federal rules.

In explaining the purpose of the rule, the Labor Department said some religious organizations had indicated they were hesitant to apply for federal contracts because they were unsure if the existing religious exemption applied to them.

“As people of faith with deeply held religious beliefs are making decisions on whether to participate in federal contracting, they deserve clear understanding of their obligations and protections under the law,” Patrick Pizzella, the acting labor secretary, said in a statement.

But Patricia A. Shiu, who ran the federal office that oversees compliance for federal contractors under President Barack Obama, said no contractors or prospective contractors had expressed such concerns during her more than seven years in the job.

In 2014, Mr. Obama signed an executive order prohibiting contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, which was not forbidden by existing federal civil rights law. Ms. Shiu said she worried that the new rule could help employers evade that rule, but also that it would go much further in eroding civil rights protections.

“My breath is taken away by the scope of this,” she said.

Jennifer C. Pizer, the law and policy director of Lambda Legal, an L.G.B.T. advocacy group, said the law had long held that the government could not deny public benefits to people who may have discriminatory views — such as Christians who assert that their religious beliefs forbid homosexual relationships. But organizations have no similar entitlement to federal contracts.

Historically, Ms. Pizer said, “if you want to work for the public, with public money, you have to be willing to employ the public.”

“This proposed rule erases that distinction,” she added.

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Trump’s Labor Pick Has Defended Corporations, and One Killer Whale

Eugene Scalia, whom President Trump intends to nominate as labor secretary, is often hired by companies when they are sued by workers, or when they want to push back against new employment laws and regulations.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce praised him as an “excellent choice,” saying he would be a valuable asset to the department as it finalizes several regulations.

Senators, especially Democrats, are sure to closely study his long career working on behalf of corporate clients, which was interrupted by a brief tenure as the Labor Department’s top lawyer.

Mr. Scalia, who is the son of the deceased Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, is perhaps best known for his opposition to a regulation that would have mandated greater protections for workers at risk of repetitive stress injuries. But he played a role in several other prominent cases, representing the financial industry and companies like UPS and SeaWorld. Here are three important issues he worked on.

The Obama Labor Department spent six years developing a new rule for how brokers and other financial professionals advised clients on their retirement accounts. Under the old rule, advisers had been required to provide investing advice that was “suitable.” The new rule, which the Obama administration finalized in 2016, required brokers to act as fiduciaries, meaning they would have to provide advice that was in the best interest of their clients.

The administration estimated that conflicts of interest arising under the old standard cost Americans about $17 billion a year.

Mr. Scalia was part of a team at his law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher that sued to block the rule on behalf of several industry groups, including the Chamber of Commerce and the Financial Services Roundtable. The groups argued that the regulation would harm less-affluent investors because firms would simply stop offering them advice to avoid exposing themselves to liability.

Mr. Scalia called the rule a prime example of “regulatory overreach” in an interview with the author of a newsletter. He said investment advice should be overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission and state insurance regulators, not the Labor Department.

Mr. Scalia and his team lost in a trial court in early 2017, after which Alex Acosta, the labor secretary Mr. Scalia will replace, said there was no principled legal basis for delaying initial application of the rule and began to partially adopt it. But Mr. Scalia’s team continued the fight before a federal appeals court, which ultimately ruled in their favor the following year. The rule died when the Trump administration declined further legal challenges.

More about Mr. Scalia and the Labor Department
Trump to Nominate Eugene Scalia for Labor Secretary Job

July 18, 2019

Trump’s New Top Labor Official Is Expected to Advance an Anti-Labor Agenda

July 16, 2019

Acosta to Resign as Labor Secretary Over Jeffrey Epstein Plea Deal

July 12, 2019

Mr. Scalia was part of legal teams that defended UPS against claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act in two cases during the late 1990s and 2000s. In the first case, UPS employees who could only see with one eye sued the company for refusing to allow them to become drivers, arguing that the company’s policy had discriminated against people who were capable of operating vehicles safely. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought the case, but UPS largely prevailed in two separate appeals.

In the second case, some UPS employees claimed that the company had refused to let them return to work after they had suffered on-the-job injuries because they were unable to perform all the responsibilities of their previous jobs. The workers argued that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing accommodations that would let them resume work.

A lower court certified the case as a class action, but Mr. Scalia and his team successfully argued that the court should not have allowed the plaintiffs to bring their claims jointly before first investigating whether each one should be allowed to return to work under the disability law based on their individual circumstances. An appeals court ruled in the company’s favor in 2009.

Peter Blanck, a professor at Syracuse University who has written extensively about the disabilities law, said that class action suits are often critical to allowing individuals to realize their rights under the law. Absent the class certification, the plaintiffs agreed to a settlement with the company.

In these and other lawsuits involving his clients, Mr. Scalia has “consistently sought to narrow A.D.A. protections on a variety of issues, including the definition of disability and class certification” Douglas Kruse and Lisa Schur, two experts on the employment of people with disabilities at Rutgers University, said in an email.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_116291426_6c8717c1-42e4-42e2-b473-9e80fbefdd22-articleLarge Trump’s Labor Pick Has Defended Corporations, and One Killer Whale Workplace Hazards and Violations United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Scalia, Eugene Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Labor Department (US) Labor and Jobs GIBSON, DUNN&CRUTCHER Appointments and Executive Changes

Tilikum, a killer whale, during a 2009 show at SeaWorld. Mr. Scalia represented the company in a case stemming from the death of one of its trainers.CreditMathieu Belanger /Reuters

In 2010, a killer whale attacked and killed a SeaWorld trainer named Dawn Brancheau. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a division of the Labor Department, investigated and concluded that SeaWorld either knew or should have known that the whale posed a threat to humans and should have taken steps to protect trainers.

The government’s argument prevailed before an administrative law judge, and then again in federal court, where Mr. Scalia’s firm represented SeaWorld. When the company appealed to a federal court in Washington, Mr. Scalia argued on its behalf.

Mr. Scalia and his team maintained that Congress had never intended for the safety administration to regulate an occupation like training and performing with killer whales. They further argued that SeaWorld already had adequate safety measures in place, and that the trainers had accepted the risks inherent in their jobs and that it was their responsibility to manage these risks.

David Michaels, the head of the safety administration at the time, said that it was true that the agency did not have much experience on the subject of killer whales, but it had a responsibility to cover the entire American work force. “We researched the question of what’s known about killer whales, we researched this particular killer whale,” Dr. Michaels said, “and we thought we made the right decision” to bring the case.

Except for the question of whether the company had willfully exposed its trainers to danger, the courts largely agreed with the government. The appeals court rejected Mr. Scalia’s arguments in a 2-to-1 decision, and the company did not appeal the case further.

But should a similar case arise if he is confirmed as labor secretary, the argument Mr. Scalia made might have more currency. The lone dissent in his favor was written by Brett Kavanaugh, who was then a judge on the appeals court and is now on the Supreme Court.

Many sports and entertainment activities, from professional football to the circus, pose hazards to those who participate in them, Mr. Kavanaugh wrote in his dissent.

But, he continued, “it is simply not plausible to assert that Congress, when passing the Occupational Safety and Health Act, silently intended to authorize the Department of Labor to eliminate familiar sports and entertainment practices, such as punt returns in the N.F.L., speeding in Nascar, or the whale show at SeaWorld.”

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Trump to Nominate Eugene Scalia for Labor Secretary Job

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-labor2-facebookJumbo Trump to Nominate Eugene Scalia for Labor Secretary Job United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Scalia, Eugene Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Labor Department (US) Labor and Jobs Appointments and Executive Changes

President Trump said he would name Eugene Scalia as his next secretary of labor, tapping the son of the former Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia for a position with vast responsibility over the American work force.

The appointment is likely to be contested by Democrats and labor unions because Mr. Scalia has a long record of representing employers like Walmart and questioning regulations intended to help workers. He was a former top lawyer for the Labor Department in the George W. Bush administration and is currently a partner in the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

In a post on Twitter, Mr. Trump said Mr. Scalia “has led a life of great success in the legal and labor field and is highly respected.”

If confirmed, Mr. Scalia will replace Alexander Acosta, who was distrusted by anti-labor conservatives during his two and a half years in the job. He said last week that he would resign amid scrutiny of his handling of a sex crimes case involving the financier and one-time Trump friend Jeffrey Epstein when Mr. Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

Mr. Acosta’s deputy, Patrick Pizzella, is to serve as acting secretary of labor when Mr. Acosta’s resignation becomes effective on Friday. Mr. Pizzella is viewed as a more natural ally of free-market conservatives than Mr. Acosta was.

Mr. Scalia was nominated by Mr. Bush in 2001 to serve as solicitor of the department, but was never confirmed by the Senate, which was controlled by Democrats at the time. Much of the fear about Mr. Scalia’s nomination at the time was based on his opposition to a Clinton administration regulation that would have protected workers from repetitive stress injuries, which became known as the ergonomics rule. Mr. Scalia had weighed in frequently against the rule, deriding the rationale for it as “junk science.”

Mr. Bush eventually used a recess appointment to install Mr. Scalia in the position, effectively bypassing the Senate. He left the department in 2003.

Two people familiar with the appointment said that several conservatives had suggested Mr. Scalia to the president in recent days.

Among them was Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, who waited to suggest it until Mr. Acosta had agreed to step down, according to one person familiar with the discussions. After discussing the idea with several senior Trump officials, Mr. Cotton spoke to the president and then joined a meeting Thursday afternoon during which the president offered Mr. Scalia the job.

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Trump Plans to Nominate Eugene Scalia for Labor Secretary Job

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-labor2-facebookJumbo Trump Plans to Nominate Eugene Scalia for Labor Secretary Job United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Scalia, Eugene Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Labor Department (US) Labor and Jobs Appointments and Executive Changes

President Trump has decided to name Eugene Scalia as his next secretary of labor, according to two people with direct knowledge of the decision, tapping the son of the former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for a position with vast responsibility over the American work force.

A former top lawyer for the Labor Department in the George W. Bush administration, Mr. Scalia is currently a partner in the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Mr. Scalia was nominated by Mr. Bush to serve as solicitor of the department in 2001. But he was never confirmed by the Senate, which was controlled by Democrats at the time.

Democrats and union leaders strongly opposed Mr. Scalia’s nomination, in large part because of his opposition to a Clinton administration regulation that would have protected workers from repetitive stress injuries, which became known as the ergonomics rule. Mr. Scalia had weighed in frequently against the rule, deriding the rationale for it as “junk science.”

Mr. Bush eventually used a recess appointment to install Mr. Scalia in the position, effectively bypassing the Senate. He left the department in 2003.

If confirmed, Mr. Scalia will replace Alexander Acosta, who was distrusted by anti-labor conservatives during his two and a half years in the job. He said last week that he would resign amid scrutiny of his handling of a sex crimes case involving the financier and one-time Trump friend Jeffrey Epstein when Mr. Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

Mr. Acosta’s deputy, Patrick Pizzella, is to serve as acting secretary of labor when Mr. Acosta’s resignation becomes effective on Friday. Mr. Pizzella is viewed as a more natural ally of free-market conservatives than Mr. Acosta was.

The people familiar with the appointment said that several conservatives had suggested Mr. Scalia to the president.

Among them was Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, who waited to suggest it until Mr. Acosta had agreed to step down, according to one person familiar with the discussions. After discussing the idea with several senior Trump officials, Mr. Cotton spoke to the president Thursday morning and joined a meeting later in the afternoon during which the president offered Mr. Scalia the job.

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Trump’s New Top Labor Official Is Expected to Advance an Anti-Labor Agenda

Congressional Republicans, members of their staffs and conservative activists regularly flew first class to Saipan, an island just north of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. They slept at the beachfront Hyatt Regency, and dined on fresh Japanese cuisine.

The junkets in the late 1990s were organized by Patrick Pizzella. The Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States, had hired him to ensure that Congress did not impose federal minimum wage and immigration laws in a place where some workers earned less than $1 an hour.

Mr. Pizzella, a genial lobbyist and government official who has spent years advocating the interests of businesses, is set to become the top Trump administration official protecting workers’ rights when he takes over as acting labor secretary this week. He will fill the vacancy left when Alex Acosta resigned amid criticism of a plea deal he approved in 2008 with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who has been accused of sex trafficking.

A longtime free-market evangelist, Mr. Pizzella, 65, has built a four-decade career in the conservative Republican mold, fighting regulation and organized labor.

His appointment is far more consequential than those of the many acting secretaries who have served in President Trump’s patchwork cabinet. The man he succeeds, Mr. Acosta, spent two years battling other White House officials who demanded that he push through a sweeping anti-union agenda and coordinate his actions with the president’s political team.

Mr. Pizzella, who is close to many of the conservatives allied with Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and on Vice President Mike Pence’s staff, is expected to be a significantly more cooperative partner in those efforts, according to administration and industry officials.

“Pat will be great — he is a movement conservative,” said Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff and a friend of Mr. Pizzella’s for two decades. “I think it’s fair to say that while he will be focused on issues of workplace safety, he will also work to ensure that the workplace is not overly burdened with regulations.”

When he filled the lone Republican slot at the Federal Labor Relations Authority during the Obama administration, Mr. Pizzella compared union representatives to the mob-connected bosses from the Marlon Brando film “On the Waterfront.” He cheered a federal-court decision that struck down potential restrictions on investigating unions. As a Labor Department official during President George W. Bush’s administration in 2008, he bemoaned the “staggering costs” of paid work time that government employees used to conduct union business, which is authorized by labor law and union contracts.

Mr. Trump has sent mixed messages about his stance on organized labor. He has courted construction and law enforcement unions while taking a harder line against most government employees. But the conservatives who run his West Wing policy shop are less ambivalent, pushing hard to undermine unions’ ability to bargain collectively, raise dues and exert political power.

Those ambitions suffered when Mr. Trump’s first choice for labor secretary, the fast food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination early in 2017 amid controversy over domestic abuse allegations. The administration turned instead to Mr. Acosta, a relatively moderate former prosecutor, who essentially inherited Mr. Pizzella as a deputy secretary already slated to work for Mr. Puzder.

Soon after Mr. Acosta took office, his aides were presented with a detailed to-do list by James Sherk, who coordinates labor policy for the White House’s Domestic Policy Council and joined the administration from the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The list, which was provided to The New York Times by a person who had obtained it from a former Trump administration official, included proposals to weaken collective bargaining rights and protections for workers on federally funded construction projects. The list also included a proposal that would have forced male actors in pornographic films to wear condoms.

Mr. Acosta rejected outright or dragged his feet on many of the plans, including the condom regulation, according to a person close to him and administration officials.

“We’re the Department of Labor, we’re not the Department of Commerce,” the secretary complained privately last year, the person close to him recalled.

Mr. Sherk gained a powerful new ally when Mr. Trump named Mr. Mulvaney acting chief of staff in January. Still, Mr. Acosta insisted that pursuing such a hard-line agenda would alienate the president’s blue-collar union supporters and make it more difficult to garner labor support for a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement that is awaiting a vote by the Democratic-controlled House, according to a current administration official with direct knowledge of the situation.

Mr. Acosta also resisted efforts to involve the Labor Department in broader political fights. In April, the White House sent Mr. Acosta’s office a request from Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president, and other White House officials asking him to write an opinion column saying that a so-called Medicare-for-all proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont would hurt employers and workers, according to a copy of the request viewed by The Times.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157767363_9ad5d9aa-f086-4f43-bfdf-b07ce9904ba8-articleLarge Trump’s New Top Labor Official Is Expected to Advance an Anti-Labor Agenda United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Pizzella, Patrick Organized Labor Labor Department (US) Labor and Jobs Conservatism (US Politics) Appointments and Executive Changes

Alex Acosta, the secretary of labor, defended a plea deal he reached with Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 during a news conference last week.CreditErik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock

Mr. Acosta refused after his legal advisers determined that the request raised “red flags” related to the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits the use of government resources for political activity, according to memos provided by a former administration official.

“It should be expected that the White House and cabinet agencies, including the Department of Labor, would have frequent conversations around potential policy ideas particularly as it relates to the president’s priority of deregulation,” said Judd Deere, a White House spokesman.

White House officials have good reason to expect more cooperation from Mr. Pizzella.

As an undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina, he wrote columns for the school newspaper, including one in 1972 in which he criticized Senator George McGovern, the recently defeated Democratic presidential nominee, for sending his daughter to an upscale suburban school near Washington.

“The hypocrisy continues as McGovern expresses the opinion that he represents the working man,” Mr. Pizzella wrote. “That’s similar to Hitler saying he represented the Jewish people in Germany during the 1930s.”

After college, Mr. Pizzella went on to work for Ronald Reagan in the 1976 Republican primaries, according to a 2001 profile in The New Republic. He subsequently held a series of government appointments, building a formidable list of conservative contacts.

In the mid-1990s, Mr. Pizzella joined the lobbying arm of the law firm Preston Gates, where Jack Abramoff, who was later convicted of defrauding clients, had set up a growing lobbying practice. One of the firm’s biggest clients in the late 1990s was the Northern Mariana Islands, which was exempt from federal minimum wage and immigration laws but could sell products under a “Made in the U.S.A.” label.

Large textile manufacturers set up production on the islands. Migrant workers, typically from China and the Philippines, worked long hours for low pay and lived in squalid, crowded dormitories. A 1997 federal government report concluded that nearly the entire private-sector labor force of the commonwealth consisted of “essentially indentured alien workers.”

The report said that foreign women were often coerced into prostitution, and that those who refused were sometimes raped or tortured.

It was Mr. Pizzella’s job to present a kinder, gentler image of the commonwealth to Republicans in Congress and their staffs, who controlled the House and Senate at the time. Allen Stayman, an Interior Department official involved in investigating conditions on the islands, said Mr. Pizzella “was in charge of showing the Potemkin village.”

One person on a trip to the commonwealth organized by Mr. Pizzella recalled meetings with senior officials of the local government in which the officials discussed their interest in making the commonwealth a laboratory for conservative policies like school vouchers. Mr. Pizzella also showed visitors factories and dormitories that were crowded but clean.

The lobbying efforts were effective. Legislation that would have applied the minimum wage and immigration laws to the commonwealth went nowhere in the House in the 1990s. At his 2017 confirmation hearings to become deputy labor secretary, Mr. Pizzella dismissed the reported abuses as “allegations” and said his job was strictly to lobby against the minimum wage.

Mr. Pizzella joined Mr. Bush’s administration in 2001, serving for nearly eight years as an assistant labor secretary for administration and management, but the Obama era gave him an even higher profile. As conservatives mobilized against Democratic policies, Mr. Pizzella joined the Conservative Action Project, which worked to establish alliances between socially and fiscally conservative organizations.

Mr. Pizzella convened meetings where conservative groups coordinated campaigns against Mr. Obama’s health care, climate change and labor policies, said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, one such organization.

Among other things, Mr. Pizzella spread the word about bus tours meant to build opposition to the Affordable Care Act. “We would say: ‘Hey, Pat, we’re doing these bus tours in these states on these days. Could you let the rest of the movement know?’” Mr. Phillips recalled. “And they would.”

In 2013, Mr. Pizzella was nominated by the Obama administration to be the only Republican on the three-member Federal Labor Relations Authority, which adjudicates disputes between federal workers and the agencies that employ them.

In several cases, Mr. Pizzella used cutting language to describe employees and identified them by name in his opinions, breaking with the agency’s traditional approach of withholding names. The naming and disparaging of workers risked exposing them to harassment, said Carol Waller Pope, the agency’s chairwoman for most of Mr. Pizzella’s tenure. (The authority typically named only the union bringing the grievance.)

“It could discourage people from using the process to resolve disputes — that was our mission,” Ms. Pope said. “I viewed it as having an effect.”

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Acosta to Resign as Labor Secretary Over Jeffrey Epstein Plea Deal

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s embattled labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, on Friday announced his plans to resign as controversy lingered over his handling of a sex crimes case involving a financier, Jeffrey E. Epstein, when Mr. Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

Mr. Trump said Mr. Acosta had called him on Friday morning and informed him of his decision to step down.

“He felt the constant drumbeat of press about a prosecution which took place under his watch more than 12 years ago was bad for the Administration, which he so strongly believes in, and he graciously tendered his resignation,” the president wrote in a Twitter post after he stood with Mr. Acosta on the South Lawn of the White House and spoke to reporters before leaving for Milwaukee and Cleveland.

Mr. Acosta’s resignation, effective July 19, brings to four the number of cabinet agencies led by acting secretaries. The department’s deputy secretary, Patrick Pizzella, would assuming the role of acting secretary, Mr. Trump said.

Trouble for Mr. Acosta started this week when federal prosecutors in Manhattan brought new charges against Mr. Epstein, accusing him of child sex trafficking and reviving concerns about the federal government’s handling of accusations against him more than a decade ago. The new charges also returned attention to Mr. Trump’s previous relationship with Mr. Epstein, whom he described as “a terrific guy” in 2002, and provided a new line of attack for some Democratic presidential candidates.

“This was him, not me,” the president said of Mr. Acosta’s decision to resign, adding that Mr. Acosta has been a “great, great secretary” and a “tremendous talent” who is “a Hispanic man. He went to Harvard, a great student.” The resignation came two days after Mr. Acosta convened a news conference to defend his actions in the Epstein case in 2008 when Mr. Acosta was the United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Mr. Acosta has said the decision was the best under the circumstances at the time to ensure that Mr. Epstein would face jail time. Going to trial with the goal of a harsher sentence, he said, would have been “a roll of the dice.” He said he wanted to help Mr. Epstein’s victims. “And that’s what the prosecutors of my office did — they insisted that he go to jail and put the world on notice that he was and is a sexual predator,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group all-the-major-firings-and-resignations-in-trump-administration-promo-1530825933054-articleLarge Acosta to Resign as Labor Secretary Over Jeffrey Epstein Plea Deal United States Politics and Government Labor Department (US) Acosta, R Alexander

The Turnover at the Top of the Trump Administration

Since President Trump’s inauguration, White House staffers and cabinet officials have left in firings and resignations, one after the other.

Mr. Acosta offered a similar defense to senators during his confirmation process to be labor secretary in 2017, when he weathered criticism about the Epstein plea deal and won confirmation in a 60-to-38 vote. But this week’s hourlong explanation appeared insufficient to stem outrage after new federal charges revealed lewd details about Mr. Epstein’s relations with vulnerable and underage girls.

Prosecutors accused Mr. Epstein and his employees of running a sex-trafficking scheme to bring dozens of girls — some as young as 14 — to his homes in New York and Palm Beach, Fla., from 2002 to 2005. If convicted, he could face up to 45 years in prison.

On Thursday, congressional Democrats demanded a briefing from the Justice Department about the 2008 agreement by Mr. Acosta’s office not to prosecute Mr. Epstein, which included a promise to Mr. Epstein’s defense team that federal prosecutors would not notify his victims of the arrangement, a practice that was not only unusual but against the law. The secrecy around the negotiations raised questions why Mr. Epstein — whom Mr. Trump recently described as a “fixture” in Palm Beach, where the president’s Mar-a-Lago club is — received such a lenient punishment.

The president repeated on Friday that he cut ties with Mr. Epstein years ago after a falling-out.

“I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years or more. I wasn’t a big fan of Jeffrey Epstein, that I can tell you,” he said.

Lisa Bloom, a lawyer who represents several of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, said Mr. Acosta never belonged in the position in Mr. Trump’s administration.

“President Trump was willing to overlook Acosta’s sweetheart deal with Epstein when he appointed Acosta, even though many raised this issue at the time,” Ms. Bloom said in an email. “Acosta has abused his public trust and should never have been appointed in the first place.”

She said her clients were struggling with memories of the sexual abuse, prompted by news of the new charges, “but also hopeful that accountability may really, finally, at last be possible.”

Though Mr. Trump praised Mr. Acosta’s accomplishments as labor secretary, the resignation could be seen as a gift by many in the American business community, typically an ally of Republican-appointed labor secretaries, who have grown weary of him. Employer groups and management-side lawyers complained that he had moved too slowly to tilt overtime pay and employer liability policies in a more laissez-faire direction. Some feared Mr. Acosta was secretly a Democrat, an accusation he denied on Friday.

Praising the strong economy and low unemployment numbers, Mr. Acosta said, “The focus needs to be on this economy and on job creation, on the decreased fatalities in the workplace and in mining. And going forward, that’s where this administration needs to focus, not on this matter.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Acosta to Resign as Trump’s Labor Secretary Over Epstein Plea Deal

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s embattled labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, on Friday announced his plans to resign as controversy lingered over his handling of a sex crimes case involving a financier, Jeffrey E. Epstein, when Mr. Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

Mr. Trump said Mr. Acosta had called him on Friday morning and informed him of his decision to step down.

“He felt the constant drumbeat of press about a prosecution which took place under his watch more than 12 years ago was bad for the Administration, which he so strongly believes in, and he graciously tendered his resignation,” the president wrote in a Twitter post after he stood with Mr. Acosta on the South Lawn of the White House and spoke to reporters before leaving for Milwaukee and Cleveland.

Mr. Acosta’s resignation, effective July 19, brings to four the number of cabinet agencies led by acting secretaries. The department’s deputy secretary, Patrick Pizzella, would assuming the role of acting secretary, Mr. Trump said.

Trouble for Mr. Acosta started this week when federal prosecutors in Manhattan brought new charges against Mr. Epstein, accusing him of child sex trafficking and reviving concerns about the federal government’s handling of accusations against him more than a decade ago. The new charges also returned attention to Mr. Trump’s previous relationship with Mr. Epstein, whom he described as “a terrific guy” in 2002, and provided a new line of attack for some Democratic presidential candidates.

“This was him, not me,” the president said of Mr. Acosta’s decision to resign, adding that Mr. Acosta has been a “great, great secretary” and a “tremendous talent” who is “a Hispanic man. He went to Harvard, a great student.” The resignation came two days after Mr. Acosta convened a news conference to defend his actions in the Epstein case in 2008 when Mr. Acosta was the United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Mr. Acosta has said the decision was the best under the circumstances at the time to ensure that Mr. Epstein would face jail time. Going to trial with the goal of a harsher sentence, he said, would have been “a roll of the dice.” He said he wanted to help Mr. Epstein’s victims. “And that’s what the prosecutors of my office did — they insisted that he go to jail and put the world on notice that he was and is a sexual predator,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group all-the-major-firings-and-resignations-in-trump-administration-promo-1530825933054-articleLarge Acosta to Resign as Trump’s Labor Secretary Over Epstein Plea Deal United States Politics and Government Labor Department (US) Acosta, R Alexander

The Turnover at the Top of the Trump Administration

Since President Trump’s inauguration, White House staffers and cabinet officials have left in firings and resignations, one after the other.

Mr. Acosta offered a similar defense to senators during his confirmation process to be labor secretary in 2017, when he weathered criticism about the Epstein plea deal and won confirmation in a 60-to-38 vote. But this week’s hourlong explanation appeared insufficient to stem outrage after new federal charges revealed lewd details about Mr. Epstein’s relations with vulnerable and underage girls.

Prosecutors accused Mr. Epstein and his employees of running a sex-trafficking scheme to bring dozens of girls — some as young as 14 — to his homes in New York and Palm Beach, Fla., from 2002 to 2005. If convicted, he could face up to 45 years in prison.

On Thursday, congressional Democrats demanded a briefing from the Justice Department about the 2008 agreement by Mr. Acosta’s office not to prosecute Mr. Epstein, which included a promise to Mr. Epstein’s defense team that federal prosecutors would not notify his victims of the arrangement, a practice that was not only unusual but against the law. The secrecy around the negotiations raised questions why Mr. Epstein — whom Mr. Trump recently described as a “fixture” in Palm Beach, where the president’s Mar-a-Lago club is — received such a lenient punishment.

The president repeated on Friday that he cut ties with Mr. Epstein years ago after a falling-out.

“I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years or more. I wasn’t a big fan of Jeffrey Epstein, that I can tell you,” said.

Lisa Bloom, a lawyer who represents several of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, said Mr. Acosta never belonged in the position in Mr. Trump’s administration.

“President Trump was willing to overlook Acosta’s sweetheart deal with Epstein when he appointed Acosta, even though many raised this issue at the time,” Ms. Bloom said in an email. “Acosta has abused his public trust and should never have been appointed in the first place.”

She said her clients were struggling with memories of the sexual abuse, prompted by news of the new charges, “but also hopeful that accountability may really, finally, at last be possible.”

Though Mr. Trump praised Mr. Acosta’s accomplishments as labor secretary, the resignation could be seen as a gift by many in the American business community, typically an ally of Republican-appointed labor secretaries, who have grown weary of him. Employer groups and management-side lawyers complained that he had moved too slowly to tilt overtime pay and employer liability policies in a more laissez-faire direction. Some feared Mr. Acosta was secretly a Democrat, an accusation he denied on Friday.

Praising the strong economy and low unemployment numbers, Mr. Acosta said, “The focus needs to be on this economy and on job creation, on the decreased fatalities in the workplace and in mining. And going forward, that’s where this administration needs to focus, not on this matter.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com