Shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted its conflict minerals disclosure rule in August 2012, a coalition of business interests filed suit to challenge the SEC’s rule as unduly burdensome. That legal challenge to the conflict minerals rule entered its latest stage on Tuesday, January 7, 2014, when three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) heard oral argument and sharply questioned the SEC about whether the rule exceeded the SEC’s authority and the terms of the underlying statute. In an interesting twist, the judges’ inquiries suggested that application of First Amendment principles involving compelled speech may hold the key to the future of the conflict minerals disclosure requirement. This Legal News Alert provides a summary of the issues raised during oral argument, as well as thoughts on the conflict minerals rule and conflict minerals compliance obligations going-forward. For those with particular interest in this issue, this Legal News Alert also provides a detailed account of the inquiries from the bench during oral argument.