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Given that, he said, this ruling could have been seen coming a long time ago.

In 1990, Justice Kennedy was part of the dissent in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the case that upheld the government’s right to treat corporations and unions differently than people for the purposes of campaign-finance laws.

“He is saying the same thing today as he’s saying 20 years ago when that decision was wrongly decided,” said Mr. von Spakovsky.