The state's highest court heard arguments Monday about whether to redraw the maps of congressional and legislative districts. 

The question justices will consider is how heavily the maps' architects relied on race in setting district boundaries. If they determine it was the biggest factor, they'll likely have to be redrawn.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued race was indeed the main influence, and that the legislature packed too many black voters into too few districts. Plaintiffs' attorney Anita Earls says the result has made politics more polarizing.

“What we're fighting for is the right to define our political identity in terms of the interests that voters care about, the common interests they share, and not be dividing it by race,” Earls said.

But attorneys for the state say the boundaries are both fair and legal and that lawmakers used a complex formula that included historical data and testimony from public hearings.

They argue it's impossible to know exactly how many minorities to put into each district in a way that would satisfy the various state and federal voting legal requirements. But they argue the state's current maps have a good balance.

At this point there's no timetable for when the justices will rule. If the court determines the maps must be redrawn, legislators will have to move quickly. The 2016 election is only about 14 months away.

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