Reuters reports that both Republican and Democratic party members of the House Judiciary Committee support Apple’s view that Congress, not the courts, should decide the FBI case – and plan to file a legal brief to say so. The committee is responsible for overseeing the administration of justice within federal courts, and most of its members have a legal background.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee are considering filing a “friend of the court” brief in Apple’s encryption dispute with the U.S. government to argue that the case should be decided by Congress and not the courts, five sources familiar with the matter said […]

They said the brief would come from individual committee members of both Republican and Democratic parties but not the judiciary committee itself. Reuters could not determine which members were likely to be included … 

One of Apple’s lead lawyers has previously argued that “the government is really seeking to push the courts to do what they haven’t been able to persuade Congress to do” and that it should be Congress that makes the decision on whether or not it is right to compel the company to compromise the security of its operating system.

Any filing would not be made before today’s panel hearing where FBI director James Comey and Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell will face off. Reuters says it is possible that the committee members may choose to wait until after Apple’s appeal has been heard.

The case took an interesting twist yesterday when a New York judge found in favour of Apple in an unrelated but near-identical case. There too the government was trying to use the All Writs Act to force Apple to break into an iPhone, the judge ruling that the government had “failed to establish […] that the AWA permits the relief it seeks.”

Apple has stated that it is “confident” the San Bernardino court would pay close attention to this ruling.

Photo: ABC News

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