Scalia, whose initial nomination was fiercely opposed by labor unions, is scheduled to leave his job as the DoL’s top lawyer January 17. Deputy Solicitor Howard Radzely succeeds Scalia as acting solicitor, the DoL said.
“I have concluded that now is an appropriate time for me to leave the department and take on other challenges,” Scalia said in a statement. Scalia is the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
President Bush appointed Scalia to the position through a recess appointment in January 2002 (See Bush Bypasses Senate, Appoints Scalia to DoL) , and when his recess appointment expired in November of last year, he was designated acting solicitor by the President. Bush first tapped Scalia as labor solicitor in spring 2001, but Democrats who controlled the Senate blocked a vote on his nomination over union objections to his opposition of workplace safety regulations during the Clinton administration.
In a statement released after the announcement of Scalia’s departure, United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger called on the White House to tap a new solicitor better qualified to help protect American workers.
“Eugene Scalia served a recess appointment because the U.S. Senate would not confirm him in the face of his demonstrated hostility to enforcing basic workplace safety standards in areas such as ergonomics,” Gettelfinger said in a statement.” We hope that this time, President Bush will send the Senate a candidate who is worthy of confirmation.”