Photo: J. Albert Diaz/ALM


Alexander Acosta may be trading Florida’s sunny beaches for the life inside the Beltway. President Donald Trump on Thursday nominated the Florida International University College of Law dean to become labor secretary after cheeseburger honcho Andrew Puzder withdrew. Here’s five things you might not know about Acosta:

1.  Acosta—a Cuban-American—was the first Hispanic to be named an assistant attorney general. He headed up the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division from 2003 to 2005.

2.  He prosecuted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff for corruption and convicted terrorist-abettor Jose Padilla while serving as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

3.  Acosta has been dean at FIU College of Law since 2009. The Miami law school’s fortunes have risen under his watch. FIU landed in U.S. News & World Report’s unranked fourth tier in 2011 but rose to No. 103 by 2016—putting it smack in the middle of the nation’s more than 200 law schools. Bar passage rates have also improved. FIU had the highest pass rate in the state for the past three bar exam administrations.

4.  Acosta is no stranger to labor matters. He practiced labor and employment law at Kirkland & Ellis and he served on the National Labor Relations Board from 2002 to 2003.

5.  Acosta heads the American Bar Association’s Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities, which has advocated for local, state and federal jurisdictions to adopt the use of a standard Spanish-language Miranda warning.