By Ronni Berke and Carol Costello, CNN
(CNN) – It was a decidedly feminine moment – as far as Supreme Court nomination hearings go. Senators chuckled when Elena Kagan said she'd have to get her hair done more often if cameras were allowed in the Supreme Court.
It's another reminder that, if confirmed, Kagan would be one of three women currently serving on the high court. Many women legal scholars say they are thrilled the court is becoming more gender-balanced. But it's not entirely clear whether having more women justices will have any real impact on the court's decisions.
Do female judges rule differently than men?
A recent study by State University of New York, Northwestern University, and Washington University researchers found no significant difference in the way female and male judges decided cases, except one: sex discrimination. In those cases, female judges were 10 percent more likely to rule in favor of the victim. The Supreme Court's female touch
Emily Jane Goodman, a New York State Supreme Court judge, says women judges have a different approach.
"The sensibility, I think, makes you interpret things in a certain way and look at things in a certain way. Whether that will dictate the outcome is a whole different story, because you have to put your understanding, your experiences into the framework of the law."
Marcia Greenberger, of the National Women's Law Center, says women judges bring a critical perspective to their male colleagues. She cites a 2009 Supreme Court case involving school officials strip-searching a 13-year-old girl. During oral arguments, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke of the humiliation experienced by the young girl. (The male justices ruled with Ginsburg; the school was faulted).
"What's so good about having both men and women as part of that decision is that they can bring their experience to bear to figure out what the law was really intended to mean and how it applies in practice," says Greenberger.
So are women judges as tough as male judges?
"I don't know that tough is automatically a positive thing," says Goodman. "The goal is for justice to be done. Remember that "Justice" is a lady.”