House Judiciary Committee may file a ‘friend of the court’ brief in Apple-DOJ battle

House Judiciary Committee members are mulling 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, reports Reuters, quoting five unnamed “sources familiar with the matter.”

However, these sources note that no final agreement has been reached on “what would be an unusual intervention by congressmen in a legal proceeding,” the article adds. Any filing would occur after a panel hearing today that will include FBI Director James Comey and Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell. The court deadline is Thursday.

Reuters says that the filing would argue that the Feb. 16 order from a federal court in California that instructs Apple to write special software to unlock an iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters threatens the constitutional separation of powers, the sources said. The Justice Department wants a court order that would force Apple to unlock a San Bernardino gunman’s iPhone.