GREENBELT, Md. (AP) -- Hours before President Donald Trump's revised travel ban was to take effect, the first of several challenges to the executive order began Wednesday in a Maryland courtroom, where attorneys told a federal judge that the measure still discriminates against Muslims.
More than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban that targets people from six predominantly Muslim countries. Hearings were also scheduled Wednesday in Washington state and Hawaii.
In Maryland, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang - who was appointed by former President Barack Obama - said he would try to rule before the end of the day, but he made no promises that his ruling would apply nationwide or address the executive order in its entirety.
Government attorneys argued that the ban, which was to go into effect just after midnight, was revised substantially to address legal concerns, including the removal of an exemption for religious minorities from the affected countries.
"It doesn't say anything about religion. It doesn't draw any religious distinctions," said Jeffrey Wall, who argued for the Justice Department.
Attorneys for the ACLU and other groups said that Trump's statements on the campaign trail and statements from his advisers since he took office make clear that the intent of the ban is to ban Muslims. Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller has said the revised order was designed to have "the same basic policy outcome" as the first.