RESEARCH QUESTION 1
The federal state of Texas has always been considered as a voters base of the republicans on the national level. Since the reconstruction period the majority of the seats in the Texas state legislature were traditionally occupied by the democratic party. The census conducted in 2000 impelled the Texas Legislative Redistricting board to remake the boundaries of the electoral districts accordingly. The Grand Old Party nominated the members of the board and, as a result of the redirection operations, the majority previously retained by the democrats was shifted to the representatives of the republican party. Simultaneously, the democrats were in majority representing Texas in congress of the United States (17-15).
While the new redirection procedure was discussed by the legislature of Texas, 50 democrats did not attend the meeting to prevent quorum from being assembled. After a serious intensive political maneuvering some senators fled to New Mexico to make it impossible to assemble a quorum and to issue legally binding decisions. Ultimately, the plan was completed and directed to the department of justice. On January 6, 2004 the new map, giving considerable voting advantage due to the gerrymandering technique to the Grand Old Party, was approved by the panel of judges.
The democrats hailed the proposed changes with fierce criticism, primarily referring to the fact that there had not been a single precedent in the entire history of the United States of America of redirecting a state more than one time during a single decade. It was also stated that the re-directing was made for political purposes exclusively and the panel making the redirection was biased. Therefore, the redirecting procedure was conducted with the sole intent to solidify the positions of the GOP. And the strongest argument in this context is that it transgressed the principle “one-person-one –vote”, hereby constituting an egregious violation of the US constitutional provisions.
The republicans were favorable towards the adoption of this act, stating that both the procedure and the substantive matters of redirecting were fully consistent with the existing US law and the US constitution as well.
Although personally I found the arguments of the democrats more persuasive than those relayed by the republicans, the US supreme court overruled the appeal of the democrats and the results of the redistricting were not abrogated.
RESEARCH QUESTION 2
In 2010 the situation does seem to have relapsed one more time following almost the similar scenario. After the new census was conducted and the plan of redistricting was submitted to the supreme court for the purposes of pre-clearance view, two democrat representatives submitted the motions requesting to participate in the process, and the district attorney of Texas challenged the validity and grounds of this motions.
However, the federal judge determined that the democrat candidates shall be allowed to participate in the proceedings. The democrats vigorously cited the argument that the new project of redistricting the map presents clear situation that the minorities will be artificially diluted and, therefore, vote’s calculation will be definitely done in the favor of the republicans. The subsequent elections clearly affirmed that assumption, since the majority of the seats in the legislative were occupied by the representatives of the republican party. This victory was challenged by the multiple attempts of the democrats, but no significant results were achieved.
During general elections of 2012, the majority of the Texas electors (57, 7%) supported the republican candidate Mitt Romney, although this maneuvering did not help him to outscore the democrat Barack Obama on the national level.