The case in question, Blueford v. Arkansas, found the 3 women championing the rights of a man accused of murder after a 1-year-old boy died of a severe head injury while in his care. Nothing particularly appealing to females there, as Tushnet notes.
Perhaps what's at work is some sort of gender-related "empathy" triggered by the prosecutor's decision to "overcharge," as the three justices might have thought, and then to continue to try to obtain a conviction on an unjustified charge. (I can also imagine -- I stress the word, because I have absolutely no inside information -- Justice Kagan thinking the case close on the merits and deciding that it would be neat to have the Court line up along gender lines. For what it's worth, I note my personal judgment that Justice Sotomayor's dissent is tighter than the Chief Justice's opinion for the Court.)Tighter?! I hope that's not a gender-related notion, professor. I've read both opinions, and I think the Chief Justice's majority opinion is plenty tight.
Anyway... neat to have the Court line up along gender lines. Tushnet can imagine Kagan thinking that. I can't. (And why is Kagan running the show? It's Sotomayor's opinon.)