Eugene Scalia

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Eugene Scalia
Eugene Scalia.jpg
Official portrait, 2019
28th United States Secretary of Labor
In office
September 30, 2019 – January 20, 2021
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyPatrick Pizzella
Preceded byAlexander Acosta
Succeeded byMarty Walsh
25th United States Solicitor of Labor
In office
January 11, 2002 – January 17, 2003
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byHenry Solano
Succeeded byHoward M. Radzely
Personal details
Born (1963-08-14) August 14, 1963 (age 59)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Patricia Larsen
(m. 1993)
Parent(s)Antonin Scalia (father)
Maureen McCarthy (mother)
EducationUniversity of Virginia (BA)
University of Chicago (JD)

Eugene Scalia (born August 14, 1963)[1] is an American attorney who is a partner at Gibson Dunn.[2] He served as the United States secretary of labor during the final 16 months of the Donald Trump administration.[3] Scalia previously served one year as solicitor of the Department of Labor during the George W. Bush administration. He is a son of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

Scalia was described by The New York Times as "a skilled lawyer with a broadly conservative, pro-business and anti-regulatory agenda".[4] During his tenure in the Department of Labor, he reversed Obama-era labor and employment regulations.[5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Scalia was born on August 14, 1963, in Cleveland, Ohio, the second of nine children of Antonin Scalia and Maureen (née McCarthy) Scalia.[7][8] He attended the University of Virginia, graduating in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in economics and a minor in political science. He worked for the U.S. government for two years, then attended the University of Chicago Law School, where he became editor-in-chief of the University of Chicago Law Review. He graduated in 1990 with a Juris Doctor, cum laude.[9]


Scalia being sworn in as Secretary of Labor in 2019

From 1985 to 1987, he was an aide to United States Department of Education Secretary William J. Bennett. From 1992 to 1993, he served as Special Assistant to Attorney General William P. Barr.[9] Scalia was in private practice in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, California.[9] In 2000, his firm, Gibson Dunn, represented George W. Bush before the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore.[10]

He served as the Solicitor of Labor, having been appointed by President Bush in April 2001 and assuming the position in January 2002 following a recess appointment.[11] At the time, he was accused by Democratic senators and labor groups of being hostile to workers and criticized for his articles criticizing ergonomics.[12][13] A group of former career officials within the Department of Labor have since described Scalia as having been "very supportive of enforcement litigation to vindicate the rights of workers, both at the trial and appellate levels".[14] In 2019, The New York Times wrote that 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".[15] The regulation was repealed by Congress in 2001.[16]

Private legal practice[edit]

During his career in private practice, Scalia has defended major corporations against financial and labor regulations.[13][15][17] Writing in The New Yorker, Eyal Press said "as a corporate lawyer, Scalia has repeatedly hindered the efforts of workers to secure benefits or defend their rights."[5] After leaving the Bush administration, he helped Wall Street firms oppose financial oversight and criticized banking regulations put in place under Obama.[13]

Scalia argued for the plaintiffs in Wal-Mart v. Maryland in July 2006, which invalidated a state law under which large companies with at least 10,000 employees would have been required to spend at least 8% of their payroll on employee healthcare.[18]

Following his term as Secretary of Labor, Scalia returned to private practice at Gibson Dunn, where he is co-chair of the firm's administrative law and regulatory practice group.[2]

U.S. Secretary of Labor[edit]

Scalia speaks at a press conference regarding coronavirus in the White House Press Briefing Room in April 2020.

On July 18, 2019, President Donald Trump announced he would nominate Scalia to be the next Secretary of Labor.[19] On September 26, 2019, the Senate confirmed his nomination by a vote of 53–44.[20] Scalia was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on September 30.[21] Scalia is the only person to have served as both Solicitor and Secretary of Labor.[22]

During his tenure in the Department of Labor, he weakened some labor and employment protections, drawing criticism from organized labor leaders.[5][6][23]

Janet Herold, an Obama-era career appointee to the Labor Department, spearheaded a number of employment discrimination lawsuits against major technology companies, including the Oracle Corporation. In 2019, Herold filed a complaint in which she alleged that Scalia had abused his authority by intervening to settle a 2017 Labor Department lawsuit in which Oracle was being investigated for allegedly underpaying women and people of color.[24][5] Scalia encouraged a settlement figure between $17 million and $38 million, which Herold considered too low. Oracle went on to win the case, with the Department of Labor deciding not to appeal the decision.[25] The Department of Labor dismissed Herold's complaint against Scalia, saying that Herold's "retaliation allegations rest on erroneous speculation regarding matters she is not in a position to know" and that Scalia had not participated in settlement discussions with Oracle.[26] Herold was fired by Scalia in January 2021 after refusing to accept a transfer to a non-legal position.[27][28]


  1. ^ "Eugene Scalia". Archived from the original on February 19, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Strom, Roy (March 30, 2021). "Ex-Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia Returns to Gibson Dunn (1)". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  3. ^ "Washington-area appointments and promotions for April 5". Washington Post. April 4, 2021. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  4. ^ Sommer, Jeff (August 21, 2020). "How 2 Labor Dept. Rules Can Undermine Your Retirement Plans". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Press, Eyal. "Trump's Labor Secretary Is a Wrecking Ball Aimed at Workers". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Wiessner, Caroline Spiezio, Daniel (March 31, 2021). "Former U.S. labor secretary Scalia returns to Gibson Dunn". Reuters. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  7. ^ Chan, Melissa (February 16, 2016). "Growing Up Scalia: How the Late Supreme Court Justice Raised His Children". Time. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  8. ^ "Eugene Scalia (2019– ) | Miller Center". April 13, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c "Information About the Solicitor of Labor". U.S. Department of Labor. Archived from the original on June 12, 2002. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  10. ^ Zuckman, Jill (November 29, 2000). "Justice Scalia's Son A Lawyer In Firm Representing Bush Before Top Court". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  11. ^ Marquis, Christopher (January 12, 2002). "Bush Bypasses Senate on 2 More Nominees". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  12. ^ Clymer, Adam (October 3, 2001). "Parties Struggle in Senate Over Labor Dept. Nominee". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  13. ^ a b c Jeff Stein; Rachel Siegel (2019). "Eugene Scalia has defended Wall Street, Walmart and SeaWorld. Now he's Trump's pick for labor secretary". The Washington Post.
  14. ^ Wingrove, Josh; Penn, Benjamin (September 3, 2019). "Scalia Has Ex-Officials' Support as Trump's Labor Secretary Pick". Bloomberg.
  15. ^ a b Scheiber, Noam (July 19, 2019). "Trump's Labor Pick Has Defended Corporations, and One Killer Whale". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  16. ^ "OSHA Ergonomics Background Page".
  17. ^ Ackerman, David Harrison and Andrew (July 19, 2019). "Labor Secretary Pick Eugene Scalia Has Long Fought Rules Aimed at Business". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  18. ^ "'Wal-Mart Law' in Md. Rejected By Court". The Washington Post. July 20, 2006. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  19. ^ Lucey, Catherine; Andrews, Natalie (July 18, 2019). "Trump to Nominate Eugene Scalia to Serve as Labor Secretary". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  20. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 116th Congress - 1st Session". U.S. Senate. Government Publishing Office. September 26, 2019. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  21. ^ "Eugene Scalia Sworn In as 28th Labor Secretary". Bloomberg Law.
  22. ^ "Gibson Dunn | Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia Returns to Gibson Dunn". Gibson Dunn (Press release). March 30, 2021. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  23. ^ Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia. "Biden expected to usher in an era of worker-friendly labor policies". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  24. ^ Penn, Ben; Smith, Paige (August 10, 2020). "Federal Litigator Behind Oracle Lawsuit Being Reassigned by DOL". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  25. ^ "DOL won't appeal loss in $400M Oracle pay bias suit". HR Dive. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  26. ^ Coleman, Justine (December 7, 2020). "Department of Labor dismisses allegations that secretary abused his power in pay discrimination case". The Hill. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  27. ^ Penn, Ben (January 11, 2021). "Labor Department's Scalia Axes Top Oracle-Case Lawyer Herold (2)". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  28. ^ Penn, Ben (March 30, 2021). "Litigator Who Sued Oracle Exits DOL for Second Time This Year". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved September 20, 2021.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by United States Secretary of Labor
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Cabinet Member Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Cabinet Member
Succeeded byas Former US Cabinet Member