Is Alexander Acosta a good pick for Secretary of Labor?

President Donald Trump just selected R. Alexander Acosta as his replacement pick for Secretary of Labor -- after his first pick, Andrew Puzder, backed down after a tape of his wife alleging domestic abuse surfaced. Acosta, a Florida law...

Is Alexander Acosta a good pick for Secretary of Labor?

President Donald Trump just selected R. Alexander Acosta as his replacement pick for Secretary of Labor -- after his first pick, Andrew Puzder, backed down after a tape of his wife alleging domestic abuse surfaced. Acosta, a Florida law school dean, has previously served as an assistant attorney general. Acosta's boosters say he has background of bipartisan support and is a very moderate pick for Trump. But after Puzder, unions and critics worry Acosta has not been fully vetted. What do you think?

PERSPECTIVES

Acosta has previously been approved by the Senate three times in the past. He's served on the National Labor Relations Board, as an assistant attorney general and as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. His supporters think he's a shoe-in for a confirmation but he's not without controversy. 

But he could receive scrutiny over the plea deal he cut with wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein. Acosta's prosecutors agreed not to file any federal charges against Epstein if he pleaded guilty to state charges involving soliciting prostitution and soliciting a minor for prostitution. Epstein ultimately received an 18-month sentence in county jail and served about 13 months. Soon after the deal was cut in 2008, two women filed suit claiming that the decision to forgo federal prosecution violated a federal law -- the Crime Victims Rights Act -- because they and other teenagers Epstein paid for sex were never adequately consulted about the plea deal or given an opportunity to object to it.

Wilma Liebman, who served on the the National Labor Relations Board with Acosta, has this to say about him:

"Even though we often came out differently on policy conclusions or the outcome of a case, he was a good colleague and he was always willing to talk and bounce around ideas," Liebman said. "I would say he's very smart and he's an independent thinker."

Chris Lu, an Obama Deputy Labor Secretary, had this to say. 

Puzder failed because of lack of vetting. He withdrew less than 24 hrs ago, so how much vetting could they have done on replacement? https://t.co/3tc6lGQomo

-- Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) February 16, 2017

In 2004 Alex Acosta supported Ohio GOP efforts to illegally purge 35,000 minority & Democratic voters from rolls [p219 Give Us the Ballot] pic.twitter.com/1tNGVaqdbP

-- Ari Berman (@AriBerman) February 16, 2017

It's been less than 24 hours since Puzder withdrew. Given Puzder's problems, the big question: did the WH adequately vet Acosta?

-- Andrew Restuccia (@AndrewRestuccia) February 16, 2017

That said, even some of Trump's critics think Acosta is a good pick.

Unlike the God of bad fast food, Alexander Acosta is strongly qualified to be labor secretary. Trump's pick has gone from awful to good.

-- Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) February 16, 2017

Alexander Acosta seems like a good pick, although the bar was pretty low at "not a wife beater"

-- Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) February 16, 2017

Alex Acosta, Cuban-American from Miami, is good pick. Clean as a whistle. Smart. Loyal. Brings unique perspective of an immigrant community. https://t.co/7dKj7BSYrD

-- Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) February 16, 2017

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