In the case, taxpayers argued that their property was unconstitutionally overassessed. The justices were told during oral arguments that the taxpayers had exhausted their remedies at the state level, but a closer inspection revealed that state administrative remedies remained open. So, O’Connor changed her vote.
Her about-face didn’t affect the outcome, but her perceptiveness favorably impressed at least one of her fellow justices.
Lesson: Don’t worry that changing your mind will make you look weak … especially if you change your mind in light of new evidence.
—Adapted from Sandra Day O’Connor, Joan Biskupic, HarperCollins.