The Supreme Court's conservative majority made it harder for people to band together to sue the nation's largest businesses in the two most far-reaching rulings of the term the justices are wrapping up on Monday.
The two cases putting new limits on class-action lawsuits were among more than a dozen in which the justices divided 5-4 along familiar ideological lines, with the winning side determined by the vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Women made up one-third of the nine-member court for the first time ever this year, but missing from the court's docket was a case that could be called historic.
Next year and 2013 could look very different, with potentially divisive and consequential cases on immigration, gay marriage and health care making their way to the high court.
The makeup of the court, however, is not expected to change.
Chief Justice John Roberts said the court would finish its business on Monday when the justices will announce decisions in four remaining cases, including two First Amendment disputes.
In one, video game makers are leading a challenge to a California law that bars the sale or rental of violent video games to children. The case was argued nearly eight months ago, when it appeared a majority of the court was inclined to strike down the law.