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Judges in their own words

March 4, 2016

"How best to balance th[e]se interests is a matter of critical importance to our society, and the need for an answer becomes more pressing daily, as the tide of technological advance flows ever farther past the boundaries of what seemed possible even a few decades ago. But that debate must happen today, and it must take place among legislators who are equipped to consider the technological and cultural realities of a world their predecessors could not begin to conceive. It would betray our constitutional heritage and our people's claim to democratic governance for a judge to pretend that our Founders already had that debate, and ended it, in 1789.”

Federal magistrate judge James Ornstein, rejecting the argument that the All Writs Act (28 USC § 1651) authorizes an order compelling Apple, Inc. to create software that allows the government to obtain encrypted information from a person’s cell phone. A full copy of Judge Ornstein’s opinion in In re Order Requiring Apple, Assist in the Execution of a Search Warrant, No. 15-mc-1902 (E.D.N.Y Feb. 29, 2016) can be viewed here.

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