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O’Connor didn’t fear changing her mind

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Within her first month at the U.S. Supreme Court, new Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor switched her vote on a case. The move surprised plenty of folks, but it shouldn’t have.

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.

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