Eugene Scalia
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 57)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
ParentsAntonin Scalia
Maureen Scalia (née McCarthy)
EducationUniversity of Virginia (BA)
University of Chicago (JD)

Eugene Scalia (born August 14, 1963)[1] is an American politician and attorney who served in the Donald Trump administration as the 28th United States Secretary of Labor, from September 30, 2019 to January 20, 2021. He was formerly a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; and 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.

In July 2019, President Donald Trump nominated him to become the next secretary of labor. Prior to his nomination, Scalia was known as a corporate lawyer who had a record of arguing against worker's rights.[2] He was confirmed by the Senate on September 26,[3] and was sworn in on September 30, 2019. He left office on January 20, 2021 when Joe Biden was sworn in as President. During his tenure, he weakened or rolled back a number of protections for workers.[2]

Early life and education

Scalia was born on August 14, 1963, in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Antonin Scalia and Maureen (McCarthy) Scalia. He attended the University of Virginia where he graduated with distinction with a major in economics, along with a minor in political science. He then attended the University of Chicago Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the University of Chicago Law Review and graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree.[4]


Scalia being sworn in as Secretary of Labor in 2019
Scalia being sworn in as Secretary of Labor in 2019

During 1985–1987 he was an aide to Education Secretary William J. Bennett. During 1992–1993 he served as Special Assistant to Attorney General William P. Barr.[4] Scalia was in private practice in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, California.[4] In 2000, his firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher represented George W. Bush before the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore.[5]

He served as the Solicitor of Labor, having been appointed by President Bush in April 2001 and taken the position in January 2002 following a recess appointment.[6] At the time, he was accused by Democratic Senators and labor groups of being hostile to workers and criticized for his articles criticizing ergonomics.[7][8] But 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."[9] 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".[10] The regulation was repealed by Congress in 2001.[11]

During his career in private practice, Scalia has sustained a long record of defending major corporations against financial and labor regulations.[8][10][12][13] As a corporate lawyer, he repeatedly hindered the implementation of efforts to improve worker safety and worker rights.[2] Since 2003, he has defended Wall Street firms against financial oversight.[8] A 2012 Bloomberg News article that profiled Scalia was headlined, "Suing the Government? Call Scalia!"[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.[14]

U.S. Secretary of Labor

On July 18, 2019, President Trump announced he would nominate Scalia to be the next Secretary of Labor.[15][16] On September 26, 2019, the Senate confirmed his nomination by a vote of 53–44.[17] Scalia was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on September 30.[18][19]

According to a former Senior OSHA official, Scalia's belief that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no role in managing the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has been credited with exacerbating the failure to control the disease.[20] His initiatives are said, by left-wing critics, to be not meant to protect workers, but instead to safeguard the industries favorable to the Republican Party.[21] Scalia has been accused of improperly intervening in the gender and racial discrimination legal case brought forth by an agency of his own department against Oracle.[22] He is also accused of retaliating against his attorney who spoke up against his intervention.[23]

In October 2020, The New Yorker characterized Scalia's tenure as Secretary of Labor as one of antagonism towards labor and weakening of workers' rights.[2] The Labor Department changed rules that made easier for firms not to pay workers for overtime, allegedly made it easier for restaurants to shortchange waiters on tips, and made it easier for firms not to provide paid sick leave.[2] He expanded the definition of "independent contractor" to make it easier for firms that use contract labor to avoid paying minimum wage, overtime pay, and other benefits.[2] He intervened in a major Labor Department lawsuit against Oracle which was being investigated for systematically underpaying women and people of color; he pushed for a settlement sum that the career officials involved in the case considered far too low.[2] Oracle went on to win the case, with the Department of Labor deciding to not appeal the decision.[24]

Personal life

As of 2019, Scalia and his wife Patricia have seven children.[25]


  1. ^ "Eugene Scalia". Archived from the original on February 19, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Press, Eyal. "Trump's Labor Secretary Is a Wrecking Ball Aimed at Workers". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  3. ^ Gangitano, Alex (September 26, 2019). "Senate confirms Scalia as Labor secretary". TheHill. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Zuckman, Jill (November 29, 2000). "Justice Scalia's Son A Lawyer In Firm Representing Bush Before Top Court". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  6. ^ Marquis, Christopher (January 12, 2002). "Bush Bypasses Senate on 2 More Nominees". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  7. ^ Clymer, Adam (October 3, 2001). "Parties Struggle in Senate Over Labor Dept. Nominee". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Wingrove, Josh; Penn, Benjamin (September 3, 2019). "Scalia Has Ex-Officials' Support as Trump's Labor Secretary Pick".
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "OSHA Ergonomics Background Page".
  12. ^ Ackerman, David Harrison and Andrew. "Labor Secretary Pick Eugene Scalia Has Long Fought Rules Aimed at Business". WSJ. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  13. ^ a b Sherman, Mark; Freking, Kevin; Colvin, Jill (July 19, 2019). "Labor nominee Scalia has long record of opposing regulations". AP NEWS. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  14. ^ "'Wal-Mart Law' in Md. Rejected By Court". The Washington Post. July 20, 2006. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ @realDonaldTrump (July 18, 2019). "I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor. 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. ..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  17. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 116th Congress - 1st Session". U.S. Senate. Government Publishing Office. September 26, 2019. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  18. ^ "Eugene Scalia Sworn In as 28th Labor Secretary".
  19. ^ "Eugene Scalia is sworn in as Secretary of Labor (@USDOL)". September 30, 2019.
  20. ^ Simon, Scott (July 4, 2020). "Many Say OSHA Not Protecting Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic". Weekend Edition Saturday. NPR.
  21. ^ Sirota, David (July 9, 2020). "Trump's Labor Secretary is Reaching Cartoonish Levels of Supervillainry". Jacobin.
  22. ^ Scheiber, Noam (August 13, 2020). "Trump's Labor Chief Accused of Intervening in Oracle Pay Bias Case". New York Times.
  23. ^ Penn, Ben; Smith, Paige (August 10, 2020). "Federal Litigator Behind Oracle Lawsuit Being Reassigned by DOL". Bloomberg News.
  24. ^ "DOL won't appeal loss in $400M Oracle pay bias suit". HR Dive. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  25. ^ "Office of the Secretary | U.S. Department of Labor".
Political offices
Preceded by
Alexander Acosta
United States Secretary of Labor
Succeeded by
Marty Walsh