by Steven Ertelt
August 5, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Supreme Court retirement watch is back on after Chief Justice William Rehnquist was treated yesterday for a high fever at a local hospital. Though he indicated last month he had no plans to retire, observers are watching him because of his advancing age and difficult health conditions.
Rehnquist, who suffers from thyroid cancer, visited Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington on Thursday. He was working at the Supreme Court at the time and returned home after being treated.
Rehnquist was briefly hospitalized with a fever in July and in March because of a problem with his tracheotomy tube that helps him breathe.
Last month, Rehnquist said he would not be stepping down and would continue to work at the Supreme Court as long as his health allowed.
"I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement. I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits," he said in a July 14 statement.
Should Rehnquist leave the court, President Bush would have a second appointment and pro-life advocates would lose one of the four current votes against the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Rehnquist was one of the original two dissenters in the landmark 1973 case that overturned abortion laws in almost every state.
After hearing news reports, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said, "We hope the chief justice is feeling better soon."
President Bush’s first choice for the Supreme Court is John Roberts, a conservative appeals court justice who replacing outgoing pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She voted to uphold Roe and was the deciding vote in a case overturning a state ban on partial-birth abortions that has had a far-reaching effect.