WASHINGTON (AP) — Three federal judges are asking Congress not to break up the vast, San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a longtime target of Republicans and a recent foe of President Donald Trump.

The 9th Circuit in February refused to immediately reinstate Trump's ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations, prompting the administration to release a new, narrower ban. On Wednesday, Trump renewed his criticism of the court, saying at a Nashville event that "people are screaming" to break up the 9th, which encompasses nine Western states.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., led a hearing on the issue Thursday. Three judges from the 9th circuit testified, and all asked Congress to leave the court alone.

The circuit has 29 judges. The next largest is the 5th Circuit, with 17 judges.

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