Trump v International Refugee Assistance Project

Trump sought review of decisions of the 4th and 9th Circuits upholding nationwide injunctions against enforcing an executive order restricting immigration form six countries. The Court granted certiorari and, with three justices dissenting in part, lifting the stays in part. The majority held that the injunctions were overbroad as they allowed foreign nationals with no bona fide relationship with the United States to escapee the provisions of the order, which is excessive as such persons have no right to come to the United States in the first place. It held the injunctions should remain in effect for the plaintiffs here and others with bona fide relationships with family, schools as students or businesses as employees. Thomas, joined by Alito and Gorsuch, dissented in part arguing the judgments below will likely be reversed and the balance of equities favors the government as national security is the highest interest possible. He also argued the partial lifting was excessive as there was no class action involved and the bona fide relationship will lead to more litigation.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v Superior Court of California, San Francisco County

Company sought review of the California Supreme Court decision that there was specific personal jurisdiction over Company as to drug harm claims by nonresidents who did not obtain or sue the drug in California. The Court, 8-1, reversed. The majority held that the fact that Company did not sell the drug to the nonresidents and those nonresidents neither took nor were prescribed the drug in California is fatal to specific jurisdiction under Court precedent, the precedent relied upon by the nonresidents either involved scope of claim not jurisdiction or due process rights of plaintiffs not defendants and the fact company used a California middleman to do marketing was insufficient under Court precedent to create jurisdiction. Ginsberg dissented arguing that Company purposely availed itself of California given its presence there and the middleman contract, the claims here arise from the nationwide marketing of the drug in question and the marketing is sufficient to connect Company to California and allowing jurisdiction here is reasonable as it minimizes burdens and duplication of suit. She also argued the cases relied upon by the nonresidents support jurisdiction here as they focus on fairness not technicalities. She finally argued the majority rule will effectively shield corporate defendants from liability given the burdens on plaintiffs who will now be unable to bring effective mass actions.

Bank of America Corp. v City of Miami, Florida

Bank sought review of the 11th Circuit decision allowing city to sue under the Fair Housing Act for discriminatory lending practices. The Court, with three justices dissenting in part and Gorsuch not participating, vacated and remanded. The majority held that City’s allegations that bank made predatory loans to minorities which resulted in pockets of foreclose which resulted in lost tax revenues and increased municipal expenses were within the zone of interests protected by Act as interpreted by Court precedent and thus there was prudential standing to sue. It held that the 11th Circuit erred in using a foreseeability standard to analyze proximate causation as Court precedent under the Act requires a direct connection and generally limits damages to those caused at the first step of causation. The case was remanded for the 11th Circuit to determine the correct statement of the proximate causation standard and then apply it to see if City has stated a claim. Thomas, joined by Kennedy and Alito, dissented in part arguing the zone of interests protected by the Act is the prevention of housing discrimination and lower tax revenue and increased municipal spending is outside that zone and any language in precedent is dicta and should be ignored. He also argued that City’s claims fail as a matter of causation as they are attenuated requiring a four step chain of logic which is three steps too many and thus the claims are too remote to prevail.