National Association of Manufacturers, et al v. SEC

No. 13-5252

Firm: Sidley Austin

Issue Area: International Human Rights

Case summary

Sidley Austin represents the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce in a lawsuit challenging certain SEC rules. The challenged rules require manufacturers to disclose whether minerals in their products have been sold to finance armed groups in the Congo which are engaged in extreme gender and sexual violence. The lawsuit seeks an exception from these rules for manufacturers that use trace amounts of the minerals and it challenges the rules' public disclosure requirements. In essence, Sidley is arguing for a special protection that would keep corporations from having to tell the public when they finance atrocities and violate human rights. The DC Circuit Court ruled that corporations have such a protection.

Excerpt from the firm's work product

In its brief, Sidley Austin argued that requiring disclosure violated the First Amendment. "Section 1502 and the rule violate the First Amendment by compelling companies to make misleading and stigmatizing public statements on their websites linking their products to terrible human rights abuses."

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