The story of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010-11 term can be gleaned from the decisions on its last day: high hurdles for injured persons seeking to hold companies accountable, vigorous protection for speech of most types and the quick emergence of a freshman justice with analytical and writing chops.

Who would have imagined that five years after the Roberts Court’s most divisive term — the 2006 term involving major race, abortion and religion challenges — the headline grabber of this year would be a case involving the federal rules for class action certification?

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