Donald Trump wants to give a major government position to the son of a former high-ranking official, and the nepotism isn't even the worst part.
On Tuesday, the White House announced that the president intends to nominate Eugene Scalia, the 56-year-old son of the late anti-LGBTQ+ Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to be the United States government’s new Secretary of Labor. If confirmed, he will fill the seat left vacant by Alexander Acosta. Acosta resigned in July after blowback over his past handling of prostitution charges against Jeffrey Epstein while U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, which resurfaced following the late billionaire’s July arrest.
The White House heralded Scalia, a partner at law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, as “a renowned labor, employment, and regulatory lawyer,” echoing similar praise from Trump himself last month.
"I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor,” the president tweeted in July ahead of Tuesday’s formal announcement, per Newsweek. “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 isn’t wrong, exactly. Indeed, Eugene Scalia has had “great success in the legal and labor field. It’s just that he gained all that “experience working with labor” through a career spent squashing workers’ rights. He notably opposed the ergonomics rule, a Clinton-era regulation that would have required increased protections for workers at risk for repetitive stress injuries, for example, and he helped UPS defeat a disability lawsuit in 2009.
Meanwhile, his father was no friend to the LGBTQ+ community. Antonin Scalia, then one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative members, voted against same-sex marriage and decriminalizing sodomy.
Over the course of his three decades on the bench, Scalia compared homosexuality to bestiality and murder and accused his more liberal colleagues of taking “sides in the culture war,” as well as “eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally [been] attached to homosexual conduct.” He also defended the rights of individuals who “do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home.”
“They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive,” Scalia added in the 2003 ruling on Lawrence v. Texas, a landmark decision which struck down statewide bans on same-sex intercourse.
It’s unclear if Scalia’s son holds his father’s anti-LGBTQ+ views.
Before he becomes the next Secretary of Labor, the younger Scalia must undergo a confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, as the politics news website The Hill was the first to report. If approved, his nomination will go to the Senate floor for a vote.
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