- The Washington Times - Monday, January 13, 2003

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) — Chief Justice William Rehnquist returned to the Supreme Court bench Monday after recovering from a knee injury.

Typically, Rehnquist returned with little fanfare and made no comment on his absence, instead plunging into the business of the court with his usual stock phrases.

Rehnquist, 78, was hospitalized for surgery on his right knee after an accident at his home Nov. 21.

However, the chief justice was in his chambers while argument was being heard the following Monday, and the court indicated he would participate in eventual decisions.

Presiding in Rehnquist's absence, senior Justice John Paul Stevens said Rehnquist was "unable to be present at this session but will participate in this case on the basis of the briefs and the transcripts of the argument."

Stevens repeated that assurance each time the chief justice missed a week of arguments, assuring that there would be no 4-4 ties on decisions from the nine-member court because of Rehnquist's recovery.

Rehnquist "underwent surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center … to repair a torn quadriceps tendon," the court said in a Nov. 21 statement said. The quadriceps is just above the knee.

Since then, Rehnquist has undergone extensive physical therapy to repair the damage.

Aides said he was anxious to get back to his tennis game as well as the Supreme Court.

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