WASHINGTON, July 13 (UPI) -- U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist is in an Arlington, Va., hospital with a fever.
The 80-year-old Rehnquist has thyroid cancer but a Supreme Court statement says "he was admitted for observation and tests" related to the fever.
Details about the chief justice's health have not been released. The court put out its statement only after court observers noticed that Rehnquist did not show up at the court Wednesday, The Washington Post reports.
In October Rehnquist had a tracheotomy to aid his breathing and was kept from five months of oral arguments for cancer treatment, although he participated in court business throughout that period.
Rehnquist has been chief justice for nearly 20 years and was first put on the court in 1972.
His health, and whether it would force him to retire from the court, has been the subject of speculation since the court's term ended last month. It is known Rehnquist would like to become the longest serving justice in court history, but would need about four more years on the bench to achieve that goal.
President Bush is already looking for one new justice since Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has said she will leave the court once a replacement for her is found.