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Is freedom of expression sometimes more important than one’s reputation and religious inclusion? Spoiler alert—the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals says yes.

The First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” Defamation law has existed for centuries; however, it was not until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s that the Supreme Court of the United States considered defamation law in conjunction with the First Amendment. Since then, the protections of the First Amendment are especially heightened when it comes to published criticism of public officials and public figures. The rationale for this heightened standard is that statements about public officials and public figures are matters of public concern and, as such, should be widely available to the public.