WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who is fighting thyroid cancer, will not be on the bench for the next couple of weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court said Friday.
The court resumes hearing arguments Tuesday after a winter break.
A court spokeswoman said Rehnquist is still coping with secretions from a tracheotomy and radiation treatments.
However, the chief justice will participate in cases by reading briefs and transcripts of the arguments, she said.
Rehnquist has not been on the bench since late October, when the court announced his illness and at the same time announced he had undergone a tracheotomy at Bethesda Naval Hospital to relive the symptoms of his treatment.
Despite not being on the bench, Rehnquist participated in cases heard in December by reading transcripts and briefs and wrote opinions.
Rehnquist was appointed to the court as an associate justice in 1972 by President Richard Nixon. He was elevated to chief justice by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He turned 80 on Oct. 1.