Chief Justice Rehnquist hospitalized

a U.S. chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was hospitalized the second time in two months, having the symptoms of fever.

Rehnquist went home in the early evening without the court or the hospital providing any information about the source of the fever.

It was the second time in less than a month that Rehnquist, 80, went to Virginia Hospital Center because of a fever. He spent two nights at the same hospital in Arlington, Va., after being admitted July 12. The cause of the fever in July was not disclosed.

Rehnquist has released only sketchy information about his thyroid cancer, which he disclosed in October. He said he is being treated with radiation and chemotherapy and that surgeons had created a hole in his windpipe, a procedure known as a tracheotomy, to ease his breathing, according to Houston Chronicle.

The fact that he had a tracheotomy led many thyroid experts not connected with his case to say they suspect he has anaplastic thyroid cancer, the most aggressive type of that disease.

The Supreme Court is already losing one member, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who announced her retirement on July 1. A second vacancy could complicate the confirmation of John Roberts, the appeals court judge named to replace her, Washington Post informs.

Rehnquist, who has been on the Supreme Court 33 years, has refused to disclose specific details about his illness but in July issued a statement pledging to remain on the job.

President Bush has nominated Judge John G. Roberts to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who resigned July 1. Roberts is preparing for Senate confirmation hearings scheduled to start Sept. 6.

"I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement," he was quoted as saying by Washington Post July 14. "I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits."

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