In a few short sentences, William Rehnquist said he's not retiring and quickly changed the dynamics of the Supreme Court nomination debate.
The chief justice of the United States Supreme Court Thursday issued a two-word opinion to settle the case of Rehnquist vs. the Chattering Classes et al:
Rehnquist, who has been battling thyroid cancer, was hospitalized two nights last week with a fever before being released Thursday. He then issued a terse statement: ''I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement. I am not about to announce my retirement. I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits.'' ...
Amid the speculation, one thing seems clear: Rehnquist will decide what he wants to do and when to do it. When it was announced last October that he was receiving chemotherapy, some doctors speculated he had a form of thyroid cancer that generally claims its victims within three to six months. But 10 months later Rehnquist is still ... on the job.
But, as the chief justice's statement admitted with the reference to ''as my health permits,'' he's not fully the master of his fate.
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