Currently in Texas it is illegal for women who are six or more weeks pregnant to get an abortion following the passing of Senate Bill 8, which went into effect September of last year. This new ban is the most restrictive abortion measure in the nation. It has received enormous backlash from the media and prominent political figures as the allotted six week period is too early for many women to realize that they are pregnant, preventing access to the procedure. As if it were not strict enough, the ban encourages private-citizens-turned-bounty-hunters to enforce the law at $10,000 a head.
On January 17th, 2022 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit rejected a request from abortion clinic providers to remit their legal case to Judge Robert Pitman who had temporarily halted the enforcement of the Texas law. The justification for this judgement was that the federal court wished to remain “consistent” with recent Supreme Court rulings. Twice, the Supreme Court has refused to block the enforcement of the law; the first time through a one-page unsigned opinion issued at midnight the day before enactment. Despite statements made by dissenting Justice Sotomayor, that the ban prohibits “women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade(s) judicial scrutiny,” it was swiftly passed due to the right-wing supermajority of the Court.
This shocking judicial decision has raised many questions concerning the increasing politicization of the nation’s highest judicial enforcement body. In particular, journalists have noted that the Court has “lately fulfilled a virtual Republican wish-list” and many point to Trump’s three justice appointments as the root cause. The general public has begun to view justices as political allies rather than neutral nonpartisan judiciaries whose loyalty is to the rule of law. A number of legislative measures enacted have placed Trump’s Republican “partisan interests above the interest in the regular and stable functioning of the federal government.” For example, the unilateral decision to change Senate rules to confirm Justice Gorsuch and the appointment of Justice Kavanaugh without regard to allegations of sexual assault and perjury. These events find their causal roots in what Professor Ginsburg and Huq define as growing “party degradation.”
In their book How to save a constitutional democracy, Ginsburg and Huq propose that the risks of American democratic erosion are structural, and party degradation constitutes one of the antidemocratic forces at play. Evidence of this phenomenon is the Republican Party control of 68 of the 99 state legislative chambers at the state level in 2018. At the national level, it has garnered majorities in the House, Senate, and most recently in the Supreme Court. 
Of alarming concern is the consolidation of power that Trump was able to obtain through the Supreme Court within just 4 years. By supplanting several civil servants and nonpartisan judiciaries with political loyalists, Trump engaged in what Professors Levitsky and Ziblatt argue is a subtle mechanism to undermine democratic institutions – the capture of democracy’s “neutral arbiters.” These arbiters include law enforcement bodies and the judiciary, such as the Supreme Court, that are designed to investigate and hold both government officials and citizens accountable for any misconduct. 
Moreover, judicial review is one of the tools that Professor Varol argues is used in “stealth authoritarianism,” wherein autocratic leaders use the same legal mechanisms that exist in democratic regimes to perpetuate power.  Not only did capturing the majority of the Supreme Court provide a shield for Trump’s abuses of power during his presidency, but it offered a powerful weapon to threaten citizen’s rights and violate constitutional law, without fearing prosecution or investigation. In the context of the Texas abortion law, it is worthy to note that the legislation was enacted even after Trump’s term ended, which is indicative that Trump’s consolidation of power has managed to outlast his presidency.
This mechanism, however, is a “double-edged sword” because there is always the possibility that judiciaries challenge authoritarian policies and damage their credibility.  It is worthwhile noting that a recent poll by Gallup showed that 64% of Americans have “none,” or “very little” confidence in the Supreme Court. Thus, since Trump’s presidency Americans have grown increasingly distrustful of their nation’s institutions and in turn these institutions have lost much of their legitimacy.
American democratic norms are perhaps not as stable as they were believed to be in the past. Only time will tell whether the U.S. “constitutional and legal architecture contain safeguards against autocratic collapse or more incremental erosion?”  How to Save a Constitutional Democracy, by Thomas Ginsburg and Aziz Huq, University of Chicago Press 2018, pp. 126-127.  How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, Crown Books 2018, pp. 78.  Ozan Varol, “Stealth Authoritarianism,” Iowa Law Review 2015, pp. 1687.  Ozan Varol, “Stealth Authoritarianism,” Iowa Law Review 2015, pp. 1688.  How to Save a Constitutional Democracy, by Thomas Ginsburg and Aziz Huq, University of Chicago Press 2018, pp. 127.