Wilfredo Lee | AP
U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta, right, announces the extradition of reputed Israeli mob boss Zeev Rosenstein as Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Oscar Negron looks on Tuesday, March 7, 2006.
Unlike the nominee he replaces, President Donald Trump's pick for Labor secretary brings to the job a record of more than two decades of public service as a prosecutor, law school dean and former member of the National Labor Relations Board.
Trump named R. Alexander Acosta as his choice on Thursday, a day after the abrupt withdrawal of CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder ahead of a confirmation hearing. Following growing bipartisan opposition, Puzder did not specify why he dropped out but said he made the decision "after careful consideration and discussions with my family."
Acosta, a Republican, is dean of Florida International University College of Law. At a news conference announcing Acosta's nomination, Trump lashed out at Democrats for delaying the confirmation of his Cabinet nominees.
"The only thing they can do is delay because they've screwed things up, royally," he said.
The Labor Department oversees federal regulation of occupational safety, wage and hour standards and unemployment insurance benefits. It also gathers and analyzes economic statistics related to the American labor market, which covers more some 10 million employers and 125 million workers.
The White House is also reviewing candidates to fill the job of national security advisor, left open after the resignation of Michael Flynn following disclosures that he may have mislead the administration about his contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.
Acosta will no doubt face the same level of scrutiny by Democrats that helped sink Puzder's nomination.
That review will include more than two decades of a professional career that began after his graduation from Harvard Law School, when he clerked for then-Judge Samuel Alito on the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. A year later, Acosta joined the Washington office of the Chicago law firm Kirkland & Ellis.
In late 2002, Acosta was appointed to the National Labor Relations Board by President George W. Bush, where he served until August 2003. During his tenure, he wrote more than 125 opinions, according to his bio on FIU's website.
Later in 2003, he served as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
Bush then named Acosta as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, where he prosecuted a number of high-profile cases, including the conviction of lobbyist Jack Abramoff for fraud. In 2009, Acosta's office prosecuted UBS for helping clients conceal assets from the IRS. The Swiss bank paid more than $750 million fines as part of the tax avoidance scheme.
Acosta also took on a number of health-care fraud cases, one of which resulted in a reprimand from a Miami judge.
In 2009, U.S. District Judge Alan Gold issued a critical order accusing prosecutors of violating ethical guidelines in a high-profile narcotics trial and fined the federal government more than $600,000. Acosta acknowledged that ''mistakes'' were made.
Later that year, Acosta was named dean of the FIU law school. In his role as law school dean, Acosta testified in 2011 before Congress about the importance of protecting the civil rights of Muslim-Americans.
"We are a nation built on principles of freedom, and high on the list of freedoms is freedom of religious expression," he said.