Next week, a federal appeals court in Washington will hear one of its biggest cases of the year, one whose outcome will directly affect how Internet providers can alter your experience online.

At stake are the government’s net neutrality rules banning telecom and cable companies from unfairly discriminating against new or potential rivals. Using their power in the marketplace to control what services consumers can access from their smartphones, tablets and PCs, Internet providers could be granted more latitude to favor preferred Web sites — if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit says so.

Three judges from the D.C. Circuit have been named to hear the oral argument on Dec. 4. Much like the Supreme Court, the very makeup of this panel could subtly shape the course of events. What do we know about the judges? Are they familiar with the issues? How might they vote? Below, get briefly acquainted with each one ahead of the big day.

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