By Daniel Levine and Dustin Volz
SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. federal appeals court will hear testimony on Tuesday over whether to restore President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban, the most controversial policy of his two-week old administration.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Monday asked lawyers for the states of Washington and Minnesota and the Justice Department to argue whether the ban should remain shelved. The court set oral argument for 3 p.m. PST (2300 GMT) on Tuesday.
A U.S. district judge in Seattle on Friday suspended Trump's order, opening a window for people from the affected countries to enter.
National security veterans, major U.S. technology companies and law enforcement officials from more than a dozen states backed a legal effort against the ban, that temporarily bars entry to the United States of people from seven Muslim-majority countries and halting the U.S. refugee program.
In a brief filed on Monday, the Justice Department said U.S. District Judge James Robart's order on Friday was too broad and "at most" should be limited to people who were already granted entry to the country and were temporarily abroad, or to those who want to leave and return to the United States.
The new Republican president has said the travel measures are to protect the country against the threat of terrorism. Opponents say the 90-day ban is illegal, barring entry for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and imposing a 120-day halt to all refugees.
The case may ultimately reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
(Additional reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Susan Heavey in Washington, Steve Holland in Tampa and Dan Levine in Seattle; Writing by Alistair Bell and Timothy Gardner; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)