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Ailing US Chief Justice Skips Supreme Court Session

U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist missed his scheduled return to the Supreme Court Monday, one week after it was revealed he had thyroid cancer.

In a statement, the 80-year-old chief justice says his original plan to return to work today was "too optimistic."

The Supreme Court announced last week that Mr. Rehnquist had thyroid cancer and had undergone throat surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital outside Washington. At the time, it said the chief justice was expected to be back at the court for today's public session.

In his statement, Justice Rehnquist said he is working on court matters from home while he undergoes radiation and chemotherapy treatments on an outpatient basis.

Court observers say the next president will likely have to appoint one or more justices to the nine-member court. Four of the court's members are age 70 or older.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP.