Microsoft Corp. v Baker

Microsoft sought review of the 9th Circuit decision that there is a right to appeal denial of class certification when a plaintiff voluntarily dismisses its individual claim with prejudice. The Court, resolving a circuit split, with three justices concurring in judgment and Gorsuch not participating, reversed. It held that allowing jurisdiction here undermines the final judgment rule by inviting protracted litigation and piecemeal appeals and it allows indiscriminate review of interlocutory appeals contrary to the balance set out in Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f). Thomas, joined by Roberts and Alito, concurred n judgment arguing the dismissal technically is a final judgment as it ended the litigation on the merits, but, the dismissal with prejudice ended the adversarial relationship between the parties and thus there was no case or controversy under Article III to allow the 9th Circuit to hear the class certification issue.

Hernandez v Mesa

Hernandez sought review of the en banc 5th Circuit decision giving judgment to Mesa in his Bivens action. The Court, 5-3 with Gorsuch not participating, vacated and remanded. The per curium majority held that the 5th Circuit did not have the benefit of a case limiting the scope of Bivens actions decided this term and thus vacated and remanded as the holding below that 4th amendment rights do not apply on foreign soil as to noncitizens without a significant connection to the United States is far reaching and if the claim Is not available under Bivens the issue may not need to be reached and the qualified immunity ground for judgment on 5th Amendment claim was improper as Mesa did not know whether the boy he shot was American or had connections and thus the judgment was improperly based on facts leaned after the event. Thomas dissented arguing the issue shul deb resolved, Bivens limited to its facts and the judgment affirmed. Breyer, joined by Ginsberg, dissented arguing the shooting here violated the 4th Amendment and thus triggered a Bivens action because Mesa was a federal officer, the scene of the shooting had special features namely it was culvert between two fences one in the United States and one in Mexico, the culvert is special border area created by the joint efforts of the United States and Mexico to relocate a river channel and it is overseen by a boundary commission, international law imposes special duties to respect these kinds of special areas and it would be anomalous to ban suit here while allowing it if the victim had been a few hundred feet north.

Pavan v Smith

Pavan sought review of the Arkansas Supreme Court decision upholding the state’s refusal to list her wife on her child’s birth certificate. The Court, 6-3, summarily reversed. The per curium majority held that under the Obergefell precedent creating a right to same sex marriage, same sex and opposite sex married couples must be given the same rights, Arkansas requires the husband of a woman who gives birth through artificial insemination to be listed and thus same sex spouses must also be listed. Gorsuch, joined by Thomas and Alito, dissented arguing that Obergefell said nothing about a biological parent based birth certificate system and in any event, Pavan did not challenge the statute that actually controls questions of parenthood when artificial insemination is involved.