Apple dug into its legal position in a written filing ahead of a hearing set for March 22 before a federal judge in Southern California. Apple stuck to its argument that the FBI was overstepping legal bounds by using an All Writs Act to compel the company to help break an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the December terror attack in San Bernardino, California.

"The government attempts to rewrite history by portraying the Act as an all-powerful magic wand rather than the limited procedural tool it is," Apple attorneys yesterday said in a filing that responded to one submitted to the court a week earlier by the Justice Department.
    
"Thus, according to the government, short of kidnapping or breaking an express law, the courts can order private parties to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up. The founders would be appalled."

Apple urged the court to reject the FBI request on the ground it is forbidden by the Constitution. Forcing Apple to help unlock an iPhone is a "modest" demand that may turn up vital evidence in a terrorist attack, the US government argued in a brief filed last week, upping the ante in its legal standoff with the technology giant.