But three Republican appointees on the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seemed to lean toward the administration, asking whether the president should be second-guessed when it comes to protecting the country's borders and whether the plaintiffs bringing the suit had been sufficiently harmed by the order during arguments before 13 judges.
Attorneys for the U.S. Justice Department say the court shouldn't rely on President Trump's statements, but on the text of the policy, which they say is necessary to protect the country from terrorism.
Although it does not explicitly mention Muslims, US District Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland accepted arguments that Trump's history of anti-Muslim rhetoric presented "a convincing case" that the second executive decree amounted to "the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban". Amid tough questioning by the judges, Jadwat pointed out that a statement outlining Trumps intention to enact a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S. was still on his campaign website.
The crucial next stage in the legal battle over Donald Trump's attempt to ban entry to the USA from several Muslim-majority countries was to begin yesterday.
ABC News' Cecilia Vega asked Spicer about the page, citing repeated instances where Trump's own past comments have been used against the administration in its ongoing court battles over the travel ban. According to Judge Henry Floyd, speaking to Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, those statements are part of the creation of the executive order and denying their existence meant being "willfully blind".
Until Monday, that webpage lived on even as the Trump administration argued his executive order banning entry for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries was not based on religion.
The judges did not immediately issue a decision on Monday.
If one of the circuit courts rules for the government before the other has decided, the travel ban would still remain blocked because a circuit court does not supersede a district court from a different jurisdiction.
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Protesters hold signs and march outside the USA 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., Monday, May 8, 2017.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Judge Allyson K. Duncan and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III will not hear arguments in the case Monday.
Of the judges who heard the case on Monday, only three were appointed by Republican presidents, and nine were appointed by Democrats.
Is the executive order a ban specifically on Muslims?
Another judge said he was anxious about the idea of a court opening the door to using a president's past to evaluate the constitutionality of a policy.
Meanwhile, former acting attorney general Sally Yates defended on Monday her decision not to defend the travel ban in court.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Wall, acting US solicitor general, argued that Supreme Court's precedents give the chief executive broad power to restrict foreigners from entering the country.
The revised travel ban was challenged in Maryland by refugee organizations and individuals who said they were being discriminated against because they were Muslim and because they had family members adversely affected by the ban. 'We are hopeful that the fourth circuit court will uphold the decision to block this Muslim ban. Like a previous injunction imposed by a federal court in Hawaii, the Maryland ruling sprang from the determination that the ban violates Constitutional protections on religious freedom, an issue that once again took center stage in the Richmond court.