U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in October, will not return to the Supreme Court this year.
A court spokeswoman Friday, said Justice Rehnquist was continuing to receive chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She said he was meeting with court officials at his home, and would vote on cases despite not attending oral arguments.
The court announcement has fueled speculation in the nation's capital that the 80-year old chief justice may soon retire, creating the first vacancy on the high court in more than 10 years.
Outside health experts say the medical treatment given the chief justice suggests he has a fast-spreading form of the disease, anaplastic thyroid cancer, that often kills patients within a year of diagnosis.