By Editorial Board
The New York Times
A homeowner gets angry at a county commission over a zoning dispute and writes a Facebook post accusing a local buildings official of being in the pocket of developers.
A right-wing broadcaster criticizing border policies accuses the secretary of homeland security of being a traitor.
A parent upset about the removal of a gay-themed book from library shelves goes to a school board meeting and calls the board chair a bigot and a homophobe.
All three are examples of Americans engaging in clamorous but perfectly legal speech about public figures that is broadly protected by the Constitution. The Supreme Court, in a case that dates back nearly 60 years, ruled that even if that speech might be damaging or include errors, it should generally be protected against claims of libel and slander. All three would lose that protection — and be subject to ruinous defamation lawsuits — under a bill that is moving through the Florida House and is based on longstanding goals of Gov. Ron DeSantis.