DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Supreme Court justices are struggling with legal questions in a case that asks them to restore voting rights for thousands of felons.

During oral arguments Wednesday, justices seemed divided and puzzled over how to interpret an 1857 provision in the Iowa Constitution that disenfranchises those convicted of "infamous crimes."

At stake is voting rights for 57,000 felons who've been disqualified from participating in Iowa elections or holding public office.

The American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP and the elections commissioner of Iowa's largest county asked the court to define infamous crimes as only those that are particularly serious and an "affront to democratic governance." That definition would restore voting rights to most felons and potentially some inmates.

But an attorney for the state argued all felonies should be considered infamous.