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OFFICE. An office is a right to exercise a public function or employment,
and to take the fees and emoluments belonging to it,. Shelf. on Mortm. 797;
Cruise, Dig. Index, h.t.; 3 Serg. & R. 149.
2. Offices may be classed into civil and military.
3.-1. Civil offices may be classed into political, judicial, and ministerial.
4.-1. The political offices are such as are not connected immediately with the administration of justice, or the execution of the mandates of a superior officer; the office of the president of the United States, of the heads of departments, of the members of the legislature, are of this number.
5.-2. The judicial offices are those which relate to the administration of justice, and which must be exercised by persons of sufficient skill and experience in the duties which appertain to them.
6.-3. Ministerial offices are those which give the officer no power to judge of the matter to be done, and require him to obey the mandates of a superior. 7 Mass. 280. See 5 Wend. 170; 10 Wend. 514; 8 Vern. 512; Breese, 280. It is a general rule, that a judicial office cannot be exercised by deputy, while a ministerial may.
7. In the United, States, the tenure of office never extends beyond good behaviour. In England, offices are public or private. The former affect the people generally, the latter are such as concern particular districts, belonging to private individuals. In the United States, all offices, according to the above definition, are public; but in another sense, employments of a private nature are also called offices; for example, the office of president of a bank, the office of director of a corporation. For the incompatibility of office, see Incompatibility; 4 S. & R. 277; 4 Inst. 100; Com. Dig. h.t., B. 7; and vide, generally, 3 Kent, Com. 362; Cruise, Dig. tit. 25; Ham. N. P. 283; 16 Vin. Ab. 101; Ayliffe's Parerg. 395; Poth. Traite des Choses, Sec. 2; Amer. Dig. h.t.; 17 S. & R. 219.
8.-2. Military offices consist of such as are granted to soldiers or naval officers.
9. The room in which the business of an officer is transacted is also called an office, as the land office. Vide Officer.
OFFICE, INQUEST OF. An examination into a matter by an officer in virtue of his office. Vide Inquisition.