MISSING THE POINT: LANGUAGE AND THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE
ON DECEMBER 31, 1974, Associate Justice William O. Douglas, long one of the most impressive and vigorous members of the Supreme Court of the United States, suffered a stroke. At first it appeared that Douglas would recover quickly and resume his place on the Court. Overly optimistic news reports indicated that "the stroke has not affected the Justice's brain [sic]"; other accounts dwelled on the fact that the Justice was still able to talk and, because the stroke had affected the left side of his body, was still able to write with his preferred hand.
As months passed, however, it became increasingly clear that Justice Douglas was seriously impaired and would not be able to resume his full duties on the bench. Rumors circulated, documenting surprising behaviors uncharacteristic of a distinguished jurist. It became a question of when, rather than whether, Justice Douglas would resign.
With the publication of a number of articles and books, in particular The Brethren by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong, more facts have come to light about Douglas's last months on the Court and the period following his resignation in November 1975. For all public purposes,