Ambidextrous Thoughts

This site is intended to offer research and commentary on current events covering a wide scope of topics. Over and over again, I see social media offering quick access to the latest news or trend, but often with very little thought or fact-checking put into it, which lends itself to misleading half-truths. The intent here is not to take a political side, but to discuss the differences expressed by many who use social media as their source of news and information. My aim is to look at both extremes of a topic, and try to find a way to come together. I welcome input and suggestions on subjects that you’d like to know more about. Some conversations may have a political theme, but I hope to discuss issues that affect our everyday life, whether it be what kind of education our children are really getting, why are medication prices spiraling out of control, are unions a help or a hindrance to our workers today, or what “entitlement” really means. Bookmark this spot and see how we do as we try to make a fair place to open discussions on the subjects that interest you most. By – JRBecker


Posted by on Aug 24, 2018 | 0 comments



General Overview of the Three Branches of Government

as determined by the Constitution of the United States of America

I’ve seen several questions and comments lately on social media that indicate a large portion of our society doesn’t really understand how our government works, so I decided to try to develop a general overview of the three branches of government, how they function, and how they relate to us as citizens. The following chart shows a brief breakdown of each branch and their intended purpose. I followed that with a slightly more defined list of duties, and also links that you can use to find out more if you have a particular interest or question. Essentially, I wanted to show how ‘We The People’ need to use our vote as our voice to protect our own interests.

Too many people think the President of the United States carries all the power, and all the responsibility for how our nation runs. In fact, the President may have less than the other two. The President is expected to be a leader in actions and speech. He or she sits as an example of how we expect to be perceived by other nations, and how we should act as a country. Our Legislature makes the laws of the country to the benefit of the majority of its citizens. The Supreme Court is designed to insure that all laws are in compliance with the Constitution of the United States of America. These three branches are intended to work in unison, to protect our natural and given rights, and to keep us viable in global relationships of which we often have very little control. These people work for us and are paid by our tax dollars. They don’t rule us, and they aren’t above the law.

Our responsibility is to vote to the best of our ability. We need to look at the big picture and decide who can do the best job for the most people. There will never be a time when 100% of the citizenry are content with our government and its laws, so we have to trust that the majority will do their duty and elect the candidates who have intentions that are best for the general population, and not their own personal interests.

C:\Users\JulieB\Documents\Writing-Blogs and Articles\Pictures\Branches.JPG



  • Cannot make laws, but can veto laws presented for signature, which can only be overridden by 2/3 of House and Senate votes
  • Can add some provisions/modifications to existing laws through Executive Order
  • Needs Congressional approval to declare War (except when the U.S. is under attack), Sign Treaties
  • Nominates/Appoints Justices for the Supreme Court, Federal Judges, U.S. District Judges, Cabinet Members & Ambassadors
  • Commander in Chief, Armed Forces of the United States of America

Departments (Cabinets)






Health & Human Services

Homeland Security

Housing & Urban Development (HUD)







Veterans’ Affairs

There are and can be other lesser Cabinet positions and duties. Each administration can make additional positions. These are the 15 that have always been carried over, and all of them are in line for the presidency, should there ever be a crisis where the President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, and President pro tempore are unable to serve as President. The next in line is the Secretary of State. Cabinets of the United States



U.S. Senate (Vice President is President of the Senate – only casts deciding votes)

President pro tempore (steps in when V.P. unavailable, but is able to vote on all matters)

Senate Majority Leader (Chosen by the majority party)

Senate Minority Leader (Chosen by the minority party)

100 Senators (2 per state)


  • Oversight of the Executive Branch through investigations and hearings
  • Conviction of Impeachment (President and other federal officials)
  • Appointment of Presidential nominees for Cabinets, Supreme Court and other federal courts & offices (see exceptions-House)
  • Treaty Ratification (see exceptions-House)
  • Law Making/Changing (both Senate and House must pass any new law)
  • 17 Senate committees, 70 subcommittees
    • Each committee is assigned to a general policy, i.e. Homeland Security
    • The subcommittees take on more specific parts of the policy, such as ‘emergency preparedness’, ‘cybersecurity’, ‘border & maritime security’, etc.

U.S. House of Representatives

Head: Speaker of the House (Chosen by the members of the House)

435 Representatives (Based on percentage of state population and recounted with every census, 2010, 2020, 2030, etc.)


  • Oversight of the Executive Branch through investigations and hearings
  • Impeachment of federal offices, including president (This then goes to the Senate for trial)
  • Law Making/Changing (both Senate and House must pass any new law)
  • Casting the vote to break a tie in the Electoral College
  • Originates most spending bills necessary to keep the government running
  • *Exceptions to Senate power – House approval needed for Vice Presidential appointment and for treaties that involve foreign trade
  • 23 House committees, 104 subcommittees
    • Committees and subcommittees operate the same in both the Senate and House, and are subject to change in number and title for each new Congress

For more details, see Legislative Branches



Federal Level

  • Supreme Court
    • Interprets the Constitution
    • Interprets the constitutionality of laws – can declare a law unconstitutional, even though the Congress and president have all approved it
    • Has the final say on laws or court actions brought before it
  • Court of Appeals
  • Administrative Courts
  • Circuit Courts
  • District Courts

State Level

  • Each state has its own Supreme Court, which works in a similar manner as the U.S. Supreme Court, but its rulings only apply to that state.
  • Administrative Courts
  • Superior Courts
  • Family Courts
  • State, County and City Trial Courts
  • Many individual courts, such as bankruptcy, traffic, juvenile, probate, criminal, civil, and so forth

Besides interpreting laws and resolving legal disputes, courts also assign punishments, fines, sentences and supervisory details for individual cases.

In some states, local judges and magistrates are chosen by the people in a non-partisan election process. Most states have at least some judges appointed by commissions or governors. To find out what your state does, see: Selection of Judges by state

For a more in-depth view of the Judicial Branch and its processes, see the following: U.S. Judicial Branch -THE END

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