- The Washington Times - Friday, November 26, 2004


Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist will be absent from the Supreme Court on Monday, beginning a sixth week of missed work caused by thyroid cancer.

The 80-year-old has been receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatment at home and plans to skip the two-week cycle of arguments that starts Monday, a court spokesman said yesterday. No other information was available.

Details have been kept secret about the seriousness of Chief Justice Rehnquist’s cancer, which was announced in a terse statement Oct. 25. Some doctors familiar with thyroid cancer say his treatment suggests a fast-growing cancer.

Although Chief Justice Rehnquist is working from his home in suburban Virginia, his absence is fueling intense speculation that he will step down soon and give the court its first opening since 1994.

However troubling Chief Justice Rehnquist’s inability to attend the last two-week session of arguments before the holiday recess, the most telling sign will be if he misses the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration. The chief justice traditionally swears in a new president.

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