Constitutionality of Proposed Revisions of the Export Administration Regulations


Proposed revisions of the Export Administration Regulations dealing with the export of technical data to foreign nationals apply a prior restraint, in the form of a licensing requirement, to a wide variety of speech protected by the First Amendment. There is thus a considerable likelihood that in their current form the regulations would be invalidated as unconstitutionally overbroad. The regulations would also be vulnerable to constitutional attack on grounds of vagueness. If the regulations were cast not as a licensing scheme but as a form of subsequent punishment, they could cover a far broader range of conduct.

A licensing system is likely to be held constitutional only if it applies narrowly to exports which are likely to produce grave harm under the test set forth in New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971).

Updated July 9, 2014