SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A panel of federal appellate court judges will hear arguments in the pitched fight over President Donald Trump's travel and refugee ban in a case headed for a possible final face-off at the Supreme Court.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled a telephone hearing Tuesday afternoon with lawyers from the federal government and states suing Trump.

On Monday the Justice Department filed a new defense of Trump's ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations. The lawyers said the travel ban was a "lawful exercise" of the president's authority.

The filing was the latest salvo in a high-stakes legal fight surrounding Trump's order, which was halted Friday by a federal judge in Washington state. Washington state and Minnesota sued Trump last week, saying the ban harmed residents and effectively mandated discrimination.

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