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Eugene Scalia, the Labor Department’s top lawyer whose nomination was fiercely opposed by labor unions, said Monday he’s stepping down after a year in the position. Scalia cited “notable accomplishments,” including resolution of the West Coast ports dispute and “internal changes that I hope will be of lasting value,” in a statement Monday. “I have concluded, however, that now is an appropriate time for me to leave the department and take on other challenges.” President Bush 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. Bush elevated Scalia, the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to the position last January when Congress was in recess, bypassing the Senate confirmation process. As a recess appointment, Scalia would have been forced to step down in November when Congress adjourned. Bush, however, named him acting solicitor with the intent of submitting his nomination again, this time to a Senate controlled by Republicans. “Gene Scalia has made an invaluable contribution to this department and its efforts to help American workers,” Secretary Elaine L. Chao said. “He has served his country well, and we will miss him greatly.” Scalia will depart Jan. 17. Howard Radzely, currently the deputy solicitor, will succeed Scalia as acting labor solicitor. Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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