Michigan Citizens for an Independent Press v. Thornburgh/Concurrence Stevens
Justice STEVENS, concurring in the judgment.
Had this case arisen in 1977, I would have subscribed to the interpretation of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act that the Supreme Court of Virginia adopted in White v. Norfolk & Western R. Co., 217 Va. 823, 232 S.E.2d 807, cert. denied, 434 U.S. 860, 98 S.Ct. 186, 54 L.Ed.2d 133 (1977). I continue to believe that the text of the Act "merely provides coverage for people who do the work of longshoremen and harbor workers amphibious persons who are directly involved in moving freight onto and off ships, or in building, repairing, or destroying ships," and that the Act's history in no way clouds the text's plain import. See Director, OWCP v. Perini North River Associates, 459 U.S. 297, 328, 342, 103 S.Ct. 634, 652-653, 660, 74 L.Ed.2d 465 (1983) (STEVENS, J., dissenting). The White opinion reaches a similar conclusion. See White, 217 Va., at 833, 232 S.E.2d, at 813 (employing a "direct involvement" test).
Yet, as the majority correctly observes, ante, at 44-45, the Federal Courts of Appeals have consistently interpreted the Act's status requirement to encompass repair and maintenance workers. That uniform and consistent course of decision has established a reasonably clear rule of law that I feel bound to respect. Cf. Commissioner v. Fink, 483 U.S. 89, 102-103, 107 S.Ct. 2729, 2736-2737, 97 L.Ed.2d 74 (1987) (STEVENS, J., dissenting). I therefore concur in the Court's judgment.