Since December 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has been considering (again) the decision it reached previously about the constitutionality of the Conflict Minerals Rule. In an August 18, 2015 order, the Court of Appeals confirmed its earlier ruling that the Conflict Minerals Rule violates the First Amendment to the extent that it requires entities to state that any of their products have “not been found to be ‘DRC conflict free.’”
The Court spent a fair amount of time discussing the First Amendment analysis and the line of cases that govern here. But, the bottom line for commercial entities is that the original finding of the Court of Appeals has been confirmed.
Now that the case has been decided, the next step is to watch for the SEC’s reaction to the ruling and whether it will appeal the decision. The April 2014 SEC Statement (as implemented by the Partial Stay) reflects the SEC’s current expectation relating to filings. But, it is likely that the SEC will issue some guidance (and perhaps some FAQ’s) relating to conflict minerals rule to explain the obligations of entities in light of this decision.