Rocky Road: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2011 was off to a docile and crippled start, reports Jenna Greene, in large part because of the blocked nomination of the agency's would-be head, Richard Cordray.
Furious With Holder: Operation Fast and Furious, the botched gun-trafficking probe, was the biggest flap Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. had to deal with in 2011, Mike Scarcella reports. Other DOJ controversies subsided over the course of the year, but Fast and Furious never did.
The Supremes: 2011 may be remembered as the calm before the storm for the U.S. Supreme Court, write Tony Mauro and Marcia Coyle. In 2012, the Court has agreed to hear high-profile cases stemming from the Affordable Care Act, redistricting in Texas and Arizona's tough immigration law, among others.
Downward Trend: Law schools faced a tough 2011, according to Karen Sloan. Among other things, they admitted goosing admittance numbers; defended themselves against fraud lawsuits; and saw applications to American Bar Association-accredited law schools drop by 10 percent.