President Trump's revised travel ban faces its first appeals court test

The debate over the extent of executive power touched upon issues ranging from the Supreme Court's approval of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II to a hypothetical scenario in which Israelis were banned from entering the U.S.by a president who had derided Jews during a campaign.

He added: "We've been very consistent since the first day of this administration on this".

The administration is attempting to defend the second attempted order by Trump after the first was soundly defeated in federal court.

President Donald Trump's administration went to federal court once again Monday to appeal a nationwide restraining order that's keeping his so-called "travel ban" from taking effect.

With President Trump's Muslim ban back in court on Monday, the White House is being questioned about Trump's past comments about designing a legal ban against Muslims, which judges have pointed to as evidence of the ban's discriminatory intent.

Wall, the acting solicitor general, argued Monday that the president's revised order on its face is an appropriate national security measure that temporarily suspends the entry of nationals from those countries while it is determined if current vetting is adequate to detect terrorists.

Spicer acknowledged that Trump's campaign website did call for a Muslim ban, but maintained this was not the administration's aim.

Government lawyers said the court should not base its findings on comments made by Trump during the 2016 election campaign about his intention to impose a so-called Muslim ban because those statements were made before he was sworn in as president on January 20.

"Is there anything other than willful blindness that will prevent us from getting behind those statements?"

Officials say the new executive order only applied to foreign nationals outside the US without a valid visa.

Other judges questioned whether some of the plaintiffs challenging the ban - including relatives of those denied entry to the USA - had "standing", or a basis to bring lawsuits challenging multiple parts of the ban. The attorney said the president's remarks should be viewed by the court in ways that are "not most hostile to the president".

"Candidates talk about things on the campaign trail all the time", Wall said.

A panel of 13 appeals court judges in Virginia will hear a challenge to President Donald Trump's revised executive order targeting six predominantly Muslim countries. He further argued the court was bound by precedent to give the most charitable reading possible to any extrinsic statement made by Trump with respect to the order.

"Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may, may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, " says Section 212 (f) of the law, "suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate". The judges asked whether the revised ban violates the establishment clause and whether the courts had any business delving into issues best handled by the executive and legislative branches of government.

"I gather you would have no problem with that, right?"

The 4th Circuit serves Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland, where the injunction was issued by a lower court judge in March.

Judge Pamela Harris said Mr Trump's action clearly had a disparate impact on Muslims, asking, "How is this neutral in its operation as to Muslims?"

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will listen to arguments on May 15 at its Seattle courthouse. The order also seeks a ban for all refugees worldwide for 120 days, but that provision was blocked by the Hawaiian court.

The administration appealed a March 15 ruling by Maryland-based federal judge Theodore Chuang that put the ban on hold just a day before it was due to go into effect.

"What if he says he's sorry everyday for a year?"