Yesterday, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia handed down their decision on American Meat Institute v. US Department of Agriculture. This case was closely linked to the portions of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) conflict minerals disclosure requirements that the same court held violated the First Amendment.
Upheld 3-2, each judge filed their own opinion, creating a complete document of 71 pages. Given the lengthy document, its complex legal nature and the fact that we are not lawyers, we don’t offer a comprehensive review of the opinions. However, one passage we did find particularly relevant may offer insight into a potential remedy for the SEC:
… AMI objected to the word “slaughter” in its reply brief. Though it seems a plain, blunt word for a plain, blunt action, we can understand a claim that “slaughter,” used on a product of any origin, might convey a certain innuendo. But we need not address such a claim because the 2013 rule allows retailers to use the term “harvested” instead, 78 Fed. Reg. at 31,368/2 …
In our view, this validates the approach for the SEC to reword the specific conflict minerals product classifications that were stricken by the Court.
The complete document is available for download here.