Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., 514 U.S. 122, 14 (1995)

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Cite as: 514 U. S. 122 (1995)

Opinion of the Court

the incentive for employers to view the Director's informal resolution efforts as authoritative, because the employer could proceed to a higher level of review from which the Director could not appeal." Brief for Petitioner 19. This argument assumes that her informal resolution efforts are supposed to be "authoritative." We doubt that. The structure of the statute suggests that they are supposed to be facilitative—a service to both parties, rather than an imposition upon either of them. But even if the opposite were true, we doubt that the unlikely prospect that the Director will appeal when the claimant does not will have much of an impact upon whether the employer chooses to spurn the Director's settlement proposal and roll the dice before the Board. The statutory requirement of adverse effect or aggrievement must be based upon "something more than an ingenious academic exercise in the conceivable." United States v. SCRAP, 412 U. S., at 688.

The Director seeks to derive support for her position from Congress' later enactment of the BLBA in 1978, but it seems to us that the BLBA militates precisely against her position. The BLBA expressly provides that "[t]he Secretary shall be a party in any proceeding relative to a claim for benefits under this part." 30 U. S. C. 932(k). The Director argues that since the Secretary is explicitly made a party under the BLBA, she must be meant to be a party under the LHWCA as well. That is not a form of reasoning we are familiar with. The normal conclusion one would derive from putting these statutes side by side is this: When, in a legislative scheme of this sort, Congress wants the Secretary to have standing, it says so.

Finally, the Director retreats to that last redoubt of losing causes, the proposition that the statute at hand should be liberally construed to achieve its purposes, see, e. g., Northeast Marine Terminal Co. v. Caputo, 432 U. S. 249, 268 (1977). That principle may be invoked, in case of ambiguity, to find present rather than absent elements that are essential


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