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Labor Secretary Pick Scalia Gets Sept. 19 Senate Hearing (1)

Sept. 12, 2019, 2:11 PMUpdated: Sept. 12, 2019, 2:43 PM

The Senate will hold a confirmation hearing on Sept. 19 for the president’s labor secretary nominee Eugene Scalia, the chamber’s Labor Committee announced today.

Scalia, a veteran business attorney specializing in workplace and administrative law, will testify at 9 a.m. EST in a hearing that’s shaping up as a partisan affair. Democrats will focus on the nominee’s history of corporate representation, while Republicans likely will call attention to his expertise in labor law.

But Democrats face dim chances of blocking Scalia’s confirmation in the Republican-majority Senate. The hearing will set the stage for a vote from the 23 members on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on whether to approve Scalia and send his nomination to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the HELP Committee’s ranking member, criticized the majority leadership’s decision to schedule a hearing only one day after Scalia’s nomination was officially sent to the Senate. “It is critical that our committee has the time we need to thoroughly vet this nominee, just like any other,” Murray said in a statement Sept. 12. “I believe holding a confirmation hearing next week would significantly undermine our ability to meet our committee’s responsibilities.”

Scalia, who previously served as the Labor Department’s top lawyer in the George W. Bush Administration, already has been preparing for a likely confirmation battle. In the waning weeks of summer, he met with Labor Department officials and even committed during his first year as secretary to sit out cases involving companies that are clients of his current law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

If confirmed, Scalia would fill the role vacated by former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who left in July after criticism over his handling of teen sex trafficking charges against Florida hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein while a prosecutor in Miami.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Penn in Washington at bpenn@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com