The most prominent case regarding a government order for Apple, Inc. is the one you've no doubt been following: The one in which the FBI is compelling the company to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists, Syed Farook. That was upheld by a judge's ruling on February 16th, and shortly thereafter, Apple vowed to fight back against the court order.

Now, in a separate New York drug case that predates the San Bernardino one, a ruling by Magistrate Judge James Orenstein posted in full by Reuters says that Apple doesn't have to do squat under the All Writs Act (AWA), which the Verge explains is at the heart of the government's argument in the San Bernardino-related case.

The All Writs Act provides courts with the power "to order a third party to provide non-burdensome technical assistance to law enforcement officials" provided there's a valid warrant. In response, Apple has argued that's a bridge too far.

"If the government can invoke the All Writs Act to compel Apple to create a special operating system that undermines important security measures on the iPhone," the company's lawyers write, "it could argue in future cases that the courts should compel Apple to create a version to track the location of suspects, or secretly use the iPhone’s microphone and camera to record sound and video."

In this particular case, and not under that exact argument, Orenstein has decided firmly that the All Writs Act does not apply itself to forcing Apple to unlock phones in any case.

"The government has failed to establish either that the AWA permits the relief it seeks or that, even if such an order is authorized, the discretionary factors I must consider weigh in favor of granting the motion. More specifically, the established rules for interpreting a statute's text constrain me to reject the government's interpretation that the AWA empowers a court to grant any relief not outright prohibited by law."

As Orenstein goes on, gesturing to the San Bernardino case: "Ultimately, the question to be answered in this matter, and in others like it across the country is not whether the government should be able to force Apple to help it unlock a specific device; it instead should be whether the All Writs Act resolves that issue and many others like it yet to come. For the reasons set forth above, I conclude that it does not. The government's motion is denied."

We'll have to wait to see how this all plays out, of course, but for now, it looks like a victory for Apple across the board.

Previously: Apple Will Fight Court Order To Hack Into iPhone Of San Bernardino Shooter