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Suppose some group of merchants decided to seek state legislation protecting itself from competition. Because such protection could not be sought openly, the group developed a strategy that involved. the presentation of its substantive case in terms of the group's need for protection from even more powerful economic interests outside the state. This request for protection was, of course, not to be presented as self-interested, but rather as essential to the continuation of the group's current service to the consuming public. Suppose further that the strategy were successful. Legislation was passed which in fact provided substantial protection from competition, but in a statutory form arguably (albeit mediately) related to the interests of the consuming public. Would such a statute violate the U.S. Constitution?

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