In the wake of Andrew Puzder’s withdrawal from consideration for a cabinet appointment in the U.S. Department of Labor, President Donald Trump has a new pick for labor secretary. Alexander Acosta, the current dean of Florida International University’s College of Law and a former member of the National Labor Relations Board, is Trump’s new choice to head the department.
Acosta’s nomination comes after Senate Republicans expressed concerns over whether Puzder would make it through confirmation hearings, and Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, announced Wednesday that he would withdraw from consideration. Puzder will return to his executive role overseeing Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., while Acosta will step into the position of awaiting confirmation. Puzder had drawn serious opposition from labor advocacy groups and from some senators, like Elizabeth Warren, who questioned Puzder’s track record with labor disputes within his own companies.
Acosta is no stranger to presidential appointments and the subsequent confirmation process: Former president George W. Bush named Acosta the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in 2003, and the Florida lawyer’s membership on the NLRB required confirmation. Acosta also served in the appointed role of U.S. Attorney for Florida’s Southern District. A graduate of Harvard Law School, his legal pedigree includes a clerkship for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito when he was a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, according to Acosta’s biography in the FIU faculty directory.