Department of Justice attorney Sarah Fabian was trending on Twitter Saturday, but not in a good way.
Fabian was the lawyer who tried to persuade clearly taken-aback Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal judges that the federal government should not be required to provide detained immigrant children with soap, toothbrushes — or even beds. That’s when critics stepped in on Twitter.
Fabian had been in the news before on issues concerning undocumented immigrants ― last year she delayed court proceedings on reuniting some migrant children with their parents because she had to return home to dog sit. She also argued for the Justice Department in 2015 — during the Obama administration — that detention authorities should have the power to put immigrant children in solitary confinement.
Her latest arguments on Tuesday — and the three-judge panel’s stunned responses — shocked many Americans who watched her performance on a video of the proceedings provided by the Ninth Circuit.
Fabian argued that the government could provide “safe and sanitary” conditions for detained children — an agreement reached in a 1997 settlement — without being required to provide soap, toothbrushes or even beds.
Judge A. Wallace Tashima — who spent part of his childhood in a U.S. interment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II — said that “everyone’s common understanding” is that such requirements are necessary for safe and sanitary conditions. “Wouldn’t everyone agree with that?” he asked. “Wouldn’t you agree with that.”
Fabian answered: “Well ... maybe ...”
Some Twitter users defended Fabian — slightly — saying she is just the face of a cruel Trump administration — and that many others are just as responsible for denying basic items to children that are routinely provided to serial killers in American prisons.
But for the most part, angry critics piled on her, and even provided her phone number for anyone who wanted to make a personal complaint (her voice mailbox was full Saturday, one caller reported).
You can check out Fabian’s arguments — and the judge’s responses — here: