Apple hires high-profile free speech lawyer to take on FBI


Ted Olson is one of the top legal minds in the country.
Ted Olson is one of the top legal minds in the country.
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Apple is planning to fight the FBI’s terror probe by invoking the right of free-speech and they’ve hired the most legendary free-speech lawyer in the country to help them win.

Theodore Olson, famous for successfully arguing before the Supreme Court that money is a form of free speech in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, is joining Apple’s fight against the FBI’s order to build a backdoor into San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5c.

Court filings in Apple’s case reveal that Olson and Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. are representing Apple in their legal battle that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. Both lawyers are no strangers to the national legal spotlight. The two worked together to fight California’s Prop 8 that banned gay marriage.

Olson is also well known for winning George W Bush’s Supreme Court case vs Al Gore that decided the 2000 presidential election. The two lawyers are likely seek free speech protections in their legal argument, according to a report from Reuters.

Apple has until February 26th to file its appeal to the federal court that issued an order that the company unlock Farook’s iPhone 5c. Tim Cook posted a public letter on Apple’s website refusing to intentionally weaken the iPhone’s security.

The argument that computer code is a form of free speech and is therefore protected by the First Amendment has been successful in at least one US court, but it may be received with skepticism by judges. Apple may argue that being forced to create specific computer code is unlawfully compelled speech.

More details on Apple’s legal defense will likely be revealed in one week when it files its response.