Redistricting and Gerrymandering

Redistricting, which involves redrawing district borders to promote equality based on the population distribution of districts, occurs every ten years after the U.S. census. By doing so, the one person, one vote principle is furthered and population distribution changes among states are taken into consideration. According to the equality concept of "one person, one vote," each district should receive an equal share of the state's total population. It guarantees that the right to vote for an individual in one district won't be violated by the state's other voters' ballots. Redistricting is executed by the legislature of a state, and this gives a competitive advantage to the legislature's majority party. Redistricting affects the representatives and senators of the House and the Senate respectively in the first odd year after the redistricting takes place. In Texas, the Republican Party comprises the majority party in Texas legislature, and this promotes gerrymandering during the redistricting process and makes the party more powerful.

The Evenwel v. Abbott Case

The Evenwel v. Abbott case issue was to determine if Texas legislative districts ensured the constitutionality of all votes by registered and eligible voters. The main goal of the petitioner was to seek a change of the population group considered during redistricting. The petitioner sought to redefine the meaning of the one person one vote principle and suggested that only the total population of registered and eligible voters in districts should be considered during redistricting, as opposed to the total population that included unregistered voters and those not eligible to vote. The petitioner argued that using the total population to redistrict favored districts which had large numbers of unregistered voters and residents not eligible to vote. The United States Supreme Court dismissed the case issue on the grounds that the appointed representatives served the total population irrespective of whether one is not eligible to vote or unregistered. The court ruled that the petitioner had not shown substantial reason to change the total population considered during redistricting and held that it did not violate the equal protection clause but rather promotes the one person one vote principle since every person is represented equally.

Impeachment and Texas Legislature

An incumbent Governor may be removed from office by the Texas legislature through impeachment from office. The House of Representatives is vested with the power of impeachment while the Senate holds the mandate to conduct the trial of impeachment of the Governor. The concurrence of at least two-thirds of the senators is required for the Governor to be convicted and removed from office. Texas legislature may also impeach the Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, General Land Office commissioner, district court judges, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals judges, and both the justices of the Supreme Court of Texas and the state courts of appeals.

The Missouri Plan for Judicial Selection

The Missouri Plan is a method that uses a trial basis to appoint judges. When a judicial vacancy arises, the governor is issued with a panel of qualified judges' names by a commission and appoints one of the judges for a one-year probation term. This plan would reform the partisan election of Texas judges to a merit-based and nonpartisan selection process of the judges. In 2011, Wallace Jefferson proposed a full reform accompanied by a constitutional amendment on the Texas system to abolish the partisan election of judges.

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