If Adis M. Vila had made the comments to the news media or the public, they would have been protected under the First Amendment, the court said.

The unanimous April 20 ruling by an 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Adis M. Vila v. Eduardo J. Padron relied heavily on a controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision last June that the First Amendment does not prohibit managers in government agencies from disciplining employees for internal critical comments made pursuant to their official duties.

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