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It has been more than seventy years since Justice Hugo Black wrote that First Amendment rights were “essential to the poorly financed causes of little people.” Since then, the well-financed causes of the powerful have discovered the First Amendment as well, deploying it to crowd out the little people in electoral politics and undo their legislative successes in the courts. The seeds for this project were planted in the 1970s — the decade in which Justice Lewis Powell joined the Court, and in which the Court decided both Buckley v. Valeo and Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc. — and they are now in full bloom.

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