WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- A vigorous Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who is fighting thyroid cancer, administered the oath of office to U.S. President George W. Bush Thursday.
Rehnquist's health has been the subject of much speculation, and his attendance at the presidential inauguration was his first public appearance since his illness was announced in late October.
Rehnquist's voice was strong, more so than usual, though it was buzzing because of his tracheotomy. The chief justice also administered the presidential oath from memory, contradicting speculation his mental faculties had been impaired.
Still, there were concessions to Rehnquist's illness. The chief justice broke tradition by being the last official dignitary to arrive at the inaugural platform and the first to leave.
Before the ceremony, Rehnquist walked swiftly down the stairs from the Capitol with the aid of a cane. Other members of the Supreme Court were already seated on the right side of the platform.