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The past, both proximate and remote, is often consulted in attempts to predict the future. Of course extrapolation from past to future is at best an uncertain art. Extrapolation, however, is not the only problem. Lessons from the recent past are distorted by lack of perspective. Lessons from the distant past are distorted by distance. The first step is to choose which of the competing pasts to consult. Selfishly, I choose to consult the recent past, as it continues through the present and on into the near-term future, from the perspective of the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. I gain at least two advantages from this perspective. The first advantage is that the Civil Rules Committee experience is familiar. Many of the observations that follow build from my own summaries of the public testimony and comments on proposals to amend Rule 23 that were published in 1996. One function of these observations, indeed, is to provide an accessible accounting to the many who took the time and effort to participate so helpfully in the rulemaking process. The proposals were intended to be relatively modest, opening opportunities to pare back the use of class actions in some settings and to expand the flexibility of class actions in others