The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a very disturbing decision, ruling that corporations do not have to meet the Dodd-Frank requirements concerning disclosure of conflict minerals because it violates their First Amendment rights. The decision calls into question the authority of the government to require ANY disclosures by corporations.
[T]his isn’t just about the conflict minerals rule: these judges are coming for the entire set of transparency laws that help make our stock markets the most trusted in the world. And perhaps they won’t stop there; according to these judges, nearly every disclosure or sunshine law in modern society is now subject to corporate First Amendment challenge. (We’ve seen this before: the D.C. Circuit has also in recent years struck down laws involving warning labels on cigarette packages and employee break-room “know your rights” posters on the basis of corporations’ First Amendment rights.)