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The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether one of the congressional efforts to rein in the Legal Services Corp. violates the First Amendment.

Lawyers funded by the independent government corporation represent nearly 2 million indigent people annually in noncriminal cases. Conservatives in Congress have long criticized the program, saying it sponsors lawyers who take on socially oriented or anti-government causes. In 1996, Congress enacted sweeping restrictions on legal services lawyers, barring them from joining in class actions and from lobbying legislators, among other things.

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