Department of Justice attorney Sarah Fabian was trending on Twitter Saturday, but not in a good way. Fabian was the lawyer who stumblingly tried to convince 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.
Last year Fabian rebuffed a court request to immediately address release of some immigrant children 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 years in a Japanese interment camp in America — 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 …”
Angry Twitter critics piled on her, and even provided her phone number for anyone who wanted to make a personal complaint (her mailbox was full Saturday, one caller reported).
Many recalled excuses at the Nuremburg trials by Nazis who claimed they were just doing their jobs. Others defended Fabian — slightly — saying she is just the current 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.
You can check out Fabian’s arguments — and the judge’s responses — right here: