Labor nominee Scalia has long record of opposing regulations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Eugene Scalia has a decades-long record of challenging Labor Department and other federal regulations, as well as a famous last name. The combination proved irresistible to President Donald Trump.

Trump selected Scalia Thursday to be his new labor secretary.

If formally nominated and confirmed, he’ll join an administration that has moved aggressively to reverse regulations and work under a president who had repeatedly lauded Scalia’s late father, Justice Antonin Scalia .

The president announced the news on Twitter less than a week after his previous secretary, Alexander Acosta, said he would resign amid renewed criticism of how, as a federal prosecutor, he handled a 2008 secret plea deal with wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The financier was indicted this month on charges of sexually abusing underage girls and pleaded not guilty.

Friday was Acosta’s last day on the job.

His deputy, Patrick Pizzella, will serve as acting secretary until Scalia is confirmed.

“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.

Scalia, 55, served for a year as the Labor Department’s top lawyer, its solicitor, during the George W. Bush administration.

But most of his career has been spent as a partner in the Washington office of the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher firm, where he has run up a string of victories in court cases on behalf of business interests challenging labor and financial regulations. “Suing the Government? Call Scalia!” was the headline on a 2012 profile by Bloomberg.