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SCOTUS: Highlights of October Term 2019-2020

(241 reviews)

Produced on September 21, 2020

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Course Information

Time 1h 6m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Constitutional Election Year 2020

Course Description

The Supreme Court’s 2019-2020 term was packed with blockbusters. The court weighed in on several important issues—affecting both businesses and individuals—including the scope of executive and agency power, the role of stare decisis and textualism, and the continuing vitality of constitutional and civil rights protections. The Court also refused to address several fundamental questions that are likely to have a continuing presence on the Court’s docket. Finally, this term was notable for the unprecedented steps the Court took to address the COVID-19 disruptions during its own oral argument and in federal courts across the country. 

This course, presented by Sheila Baynes, Upnit K. Bhatti, Monica Haymond, and Sarah Sloan of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s Supreme Court and Appellate Group, examines the highlights of an exciting term and offers insight into the implications of the Court’s decisions.  

Learning Objectives:

  1. Obtain an overview of important Supreme Court decisions of the October 2019-2020 Term

  2. Gain insights into the practical and legal implications of many of the Court’s key decisions

  3. Examine the Court’s decisions and changes in operation for clues about the trajectory of the law and the Court’s future functioning

Credit Information

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Sheila Baynes

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Sheila is a member of the firm's Supreme Court and Appellate practice, where she represents clients in appellate and trial-level litigation.

Prior to joining Orrick, Sheila was an Honors Attorney at the Department of Justice. At DOJ she handled all aspects of litigation in a diverse array of matters, from shepherding complex cases through discovery to briefing and arguing dispositive motions in federal courts coast to coast. Sheila has also successfully briefed and argued appeals in the Fifth and Ninth Circuits.

Sheila graduated from Harvard College and NYU School of Law, where she was an Articles Editor on the New York University Law Review and won the Maurice Goodman Memorial Prize for overall achievement. Immediately following law school, she served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

Before becoming a lawyer, Sheila had a decade-long career in education and leadership development, including teaching high school in coastal Alaska and coaching leadership and wilderness skills for students of all ages in remote settings throughout North America.

Supreme Court & Appellate
  • Montana
  • Hon. Sidney R. Thomas, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2014-2015
  • New York University School of Law, J.D., 2014, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif
  • Harvard College, A.B., History and Literature, 2003, cum laude
  • University of Alaska Southeast, M.A.T, 2006
  • Butler Scholar, NYU School of Law
  • Maurice Goodman Memorial Prize (overall achievement award for outstanding scholarship and character), NYU School of Law
  • Articles Editor, New York University Law Review
  • Note, Cost Consideration and the Endangered Species Act, 90 N.Y.U. L. REV. 961 (2015)

Upnit K. Bhatti

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

A former Third Circuit clerk, Upnit is a Managing Associate in the Supreme Court and Appellate practice group.

Upnit represents clients in federal and state courts at both the trial and appellate levels. For example, she has embedded in multiple trials as appellate counsel for Johnson & Johnson to preserve appellate issues. Upnit also works with trial teams in complex commercial matters to draft dispositive motions and develop creative legal strategies. She has presented oral argument in state and federal courts and has co-authored briefs before state and federal trial and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. In addition, Upnit maintains an active pro bono practice. 

Prior to joining Orrick, Upnit focused on products liability and complex litigation work at Arnold & Porter LLP and a mid-size firm in Upstate New York. This included representing a consumer products company in the defense of thousands of personal injury cases in state and federal courts. She was the primary drafter of several motions and appellate briefs. She was also deeply involved in the firms’ pro bono practice and first chaired a trial dealing with First and Eighth Amendment claims.

Outside of the firm, Upnit serves as the Co-Chair of the DC Women’s Bar Association’s Amicus Committee and Diversity Committee. She is also the Secretary of the Board of her law school’s Alumni Association. 

Upnit previously clerked for the Honorable Theodore A. McKee of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and interned for the Honorable Thérèse Wiley Dancks of the Northern District of New York. In law school, Upnit served as the Managing Editor of the Syracuse Law Review, and was an arguing member of the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Team. She received the Moot Court Honor Society’s Executive Director Award and the Syracuse Law Review Distinguished Leadership Award.

Monica L. Haymond

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

A former Third Circuit and Eleventh Circuit clerk, Monica is a member of Orrick's Supreme Court and Appellate practice.

Monica represents clients in high-stakes appeals. She has co-authored briefs before the federal appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. She has experience in a wide range of subject areas, including administrative, constitutional, and securities law. She also maintains an active pro bono practice.

Before joining the firm, Monica served as a law clerk to Judge Jordan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and Judge Bibas on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. As a law clerk, she co-taught a seminar on habeas corpus at the University of Miami School of Law with Judge Jordan. Prior to clerking, she practiced at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where she was a member of the firm's Appellate and Constitutional Law practice.

Monica graduated Order of the Coif from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she served as an editor of the Virginia Law Review and the Virginia Journal of Law & Politics. She participated in the school’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, wrote a prize-winning note on the Indian Commerce Clause, and was a semi-finalist in the law school’s moot court competition. She also served as a fellow in the Law & Public Service Program.

Sarah Sloan

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Sarah is a member of Orrick’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice group.

Before joining Orrick, Sarah served as a law clerk to Justice Elena Kagan and Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court, Judge Michelle T. Friedland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Judge Alison J. Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Sarah received her law degree from Columbia Law School, where she won the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Prize. 


Twilah S.

Excellent presentation knowledgeable women!!!

Donna G.


Lynda S.

good presentation

Eric L.

Very comprehensive

Joseph D.

very complete and informative

Michael S. J.

This program was packed full of factual information that explained these SCOTUS decisions in highlighted fashion. I enjoyed it immensely.

John Y.

Outstanding. Lot of content succinctly delivered

Catherine F.

Excellent review of the most recent SCOTUS term!

James F.

Excellent presentation. All of the speakers knew their stuff and communicated clearly. They were also very interesting.

Maria H.

All the speakers were exceptional.

Mary D.

the presentation was well-organized and very informative...the takeaway section was succinct and insightful

Edward J.

Clear, concise, explanatory

Keith H.

Thank you everyone!

Dave M.

very timely, including references to events a few days ago, RBG's death

Jean Margo R.

presentsers all very good


Good speakers

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