The following piece is cross-posted from last March, Cass Sunstein wrote the following on "Free Speech, Inc."
The most illuminating free-speech case of 2015 has nothing to do with political speech, or civil-rights protests, or hate speech, or any other issues we used to associate with the First Amendment. It has to do with an obscure provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that directs the Securities and Exchange Commission to require companies to inform the public if their products use conflict minerals.
The case, brought by the National Association of Manufacturers, is the culmination of a stunningly successful corporate movement to transform the First Amendment into an all-purpose shield against even modest regulation. Let’s give the movement a name: Free Speech Inc.
The conflict minerals controversy came to a head in 2012, when the SEC issued a regulation requiring companies to conduct a “reasonable country of origin inquiry” to see if their products use minerals that are sold to finance war and humanitarian catastrophe in covered nations — principally Congo. If they do, then companies must report those products, publicly, on an SEC website…
Click here to read the ariticle on BloombergView.