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By Nina Martin, ProPublica

Betty Dukes (C), one of the six named plaintiffs, speaks to the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court on March 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

Betty Dukes (C), one of the six named plaintiffs, speaks to the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court on March 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 5-4 decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes in June 2011, no one needed a Richter scale to know it was a Big One. In throwing out a mammoth lawsuit by women employees who claimed that they’d been systematically underpaid and underpromoted by the world’s biggest corporation, the ruling upended decades of employment discrimination law and raised serious barriers to future large-scale discrimination cases of every kind.