WATCH: Asked about compassion, Jackson says public safety and rehabilitation were her goals

On the third day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., suggested that Jackson’s compassion “could lead to bad results” when it comes to recidivism.

A former trial judge, Jackson responded her “attempts to communicate directly with defendants is about public safety.”

“We should be imposing a sentence sufficient but not greater than necessary to promote the purposes of punishment,” Jackson said. One purpose, she added, is to rehabilitate people who commit a crime so they are unlikely to make the same mistake again.

WATCH LIVE: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings — Day 3
Jackson described how, when she was administering justice, she would explain the consequences of defendants’ actions so that they better understood the weight of their decisions. The goal, she said, was to further Congress’ direction on sentencing so that incarcerated people “can ultimately be rehabilitated to the benefit of society as a whole.”

Wednesday was senators’ final day to question Jackson, who was nominated by President Joe Biden in February to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman on the high court.

More on Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings from our coverage:

Associated Press writers Jessica Gresko, Lisa Mascaro, Josh Boak, Colleen Long and Kevin Freking in Washington and Aaron Morrison in New York contributed to this report.

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