Eugene Scalia is the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, but Scalia did not get Democrats’ support.

Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, was confirmed Thursday on a 53 to 44 vote, strictly along party lines.

Democrats Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz were among the senators voting against the nominee.

US Capitol building Congress Senate washington DC. 7 june 2016
The U.S. Capitol. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In a press release, Hirono said, “Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently nominated individuals to serve in his cabinet who have major conflicts of interest and who are hostile to the Departments they are chosen to lead. The nomination of Eugene Scalia to be Secretary of Labor fits squarely within this pattern, and his confirmation will result in serious harm to working people in Hawaii and across the country.”

Hirono said that Scalia “spent his entire career advocating for powerful corporations at the expense of America’s workers. As a corporate lawyer, he fought to weaken protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He worked to undermine regulations that protect the health and safety of workers. He opposed increases in the minimum wage and helped his clients deny tips and overtime pay for their workers.”

The Wall Street Journal had a different take on Scalia, calling him “well-regarded within the conservative legal community. He built a practice over the past decade challenging Obama-era regulations on the grounds that policy makers failed to thoroughly review the costs and benefits of a post crisis overhaul restricting Wall Street activities.”

The clout of labor unions has been on the decline for decades. They remain a political force in Hawaii, however.

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