I was unable to reach Bowen when I first reported news of the episode. He was lunching then at the Little Rock Club. He called me after. He confirmed that he had a stroke-like episode known as a transient ischemic attack about 2:30 a.m. Friday morning. "It sent a tingle down my side," he said. "I struggled with it until early in the morning and then went to the emergency room and they checked me out. They said, 'Bowen, you're still alive.'"
He said he feels fine today and has continued his morning exercise and going to the office. But he said the episode had been unsettling.
Might it affect his commitment to filling a Supreme Court seat for a year?
"I'm not in position to say anything about it yet," he told me "It’ll be something reported within the court, but not by me." Shortly after, the governor's office announced that Bowen had said he intended to resign.
"While this news is a disappointment, my thoughts are first and foremost focused on Bill's health and well-being," Governor Beebe said in a prepared statement. "A dedicated and honorable public servant, Justice Bowen expressed to me his regret in not being able to serve his full appointment. We will work quickly to fill this vacancy with another qualified jurist."
Bowen said he was happy to hear other diners who saw him at lunch thought he appeared the same as ever. "I had a clean shirt on. I'm exercising and to be nearly 87 in May, I'm fine. I’m trying to live life just like not much happened."
He participated in two of the Supreme Court's weekly conferences after being sworn in last week.