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Sen. Harry Reid, the top Democrat in Congress, has delivered speeches from the Senate floor demanding a change and earlier this week penned a letter reiterating his plea.

He said Wednesday the ruling striking down the trademark was a victory for American Indians across the country, and it shows the NFL team will have to change its name.

“The writing’s on the wall,” Mr. Reid said. “Dan Snyder may be the last person in the world to realize this, but it’s just a matter of time until he’s forced to change and do the right thing.”

But the ruling against the team that plays its games just outside of a city already steeped in partisan politics could serve to galvanize groups already suspicious of government overreach.

“There’s the distinct potential that people will see this as being cowed by big government,” business litigation attorney David Shlansky said. “I could really see this becoming a way to express one’s antipathy to political correctness or intrusion by the government.”

Stephen Dinan and Brian McNally contributed to this report.