The Destruction of American Democracy
The three branches.
The United States Constitution is structured to provide our famous checks and balances with three branches, first the Legislature - to make laws, and manage raising fund and to control expenditures, second, the Administration - to implement the laws with regulations, provide for defense, and other services delegated by legislation to the federal government, to appoint senior positions in the government, and to manage all international relations, and third, the judiciary - to decide disputes between individuals and organizations and the government with respect to the law and equity, and to be the final arbitrator with respect to the interpretation of the constitution.
Checks and balances.
The legislature is charged with providing Advice and Consent for the most senior federal government positions of responsibility, such as criminal and law judges, Supreme Court Justices, Department heads in both the judiciary and the executive branches, attorneys general, Ambassadors, and other senior federal government positions as well as to approve treaties. The legislature has the power to override Presidential Vetoes, to impeach “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States”.
The President makes appointments of acting and secondary positions, which are exempt from Senate approval, vetoes bills and may “Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States”.
The Judiciary may review all legislation, regulations, and the good behavior of appointees, traditionally, only in the context of a complaint by a citizen or organization having standing before the court. See the whole list at https://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_cnb.html
The beginning of the end
In the last year of the Obama Administration, Justice Scalia died on February 13. At the time, the Senate was controlled by the Republicans 54 to 44 Democrats. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland on March 16. 2016, which required Senate consent to become effective. The Republicans blocked any review throughout the remainder of President Obama's term, thus “stealing” the court seat, thereby shirking it's duty to provide “advice and consent” per the constitution. The number of judges appointed and approved in 2015-2016 was drastically lower than normal as the Republicans in control of the senate delayed and/or refused to move the nominees through the court system.
“From the moment Republicans won the Senate majority in 2014, they’ve put a halt to the judicial confirmation process. As a result, the backlog is far greater than in past presidential election years, making it likely that dozens of key spots on the bench will go unfilled by Obama nominees.”
By stopping the approval of judges the Republicans significantly limited the size of the judicial function of the government, and, at the same time, gave the Trump administration the opportunity to put extreme conservative and unqualified persons in charge of the judicial functions, as they also did with other appointees. Since the top positions require Senate approval, the collusion between the Trump Administration and the Republican controlled Senate, a work-around strategy has been adopted. Trump is appointing nominees to “acting” and “second tier” positions - which do not need Senate approval - and leaving the top position - which needs Senate approval - vacant. This bypasses the “advice and consent” check of the Senate completely by installing individuals that even the Republican Senate would not approve. This strategy allows for destruction of the effectiveness of the agencies and departments between the absence of a qualified leader and the secondary appointment of an unqualified or hostile to the mission of the agency concerned.