President Donald Trump's choice of Eugene Scalia to serve as secretary of labor would put in charge an accomplished litigator and administrative law expert with deep knowledge of some of the agency's biggest issues, including a fiduciary rule now being reworked.
Mr. Trump said in a pair of tweets July 18 that he intends to nominate Mr. Scalia, a partner in the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to replace Alexander Acosta, who resigned effective July 19.
Deputy Secretary Patrick Pizzella will serve as acting secretary until Mr. Scalia can be confirmed by the Senate after Mr. Trump formally submits the nomination.
Mr. Scalia's DOL experience includes serving as solicitor, the chief legal officer responsible for all Labor Department litigation and legal advice on rule-making and administrative law. He began that position in January 2002 following a recess appointment by President George W. Bush in April 2001. Gibson Dunn represented Mr. Bush before the Supreme Court in Bush vs. Gore.
Mr. Scalia also served as a special assistant to the attorney general where he successfully challenged numerous federal agency actions. In private practice, he helped MetLife Inc. remove its designation as a non-bank systemically important financial institution by the Financial Stability Oversight Council.
His firsthand experience with the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule-making includes being part of the legal team representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the Financial Services Institute, the Financial Services Roundtable, the Insured Retirement Institute and other leading trade associations in their successful challenges to its latest version. He presented oral arguments in the case before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which vacated the DOL's fiduciary rule in March 2018, saying it represented regulatory overreach. DOL's latest regulatory agenda said it is "considering regulatory options in light of the (5th) circuit opinion," with a final rule expected by September.