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).
Somali pirates gave me toothpaste & soap. https://t.co/K8zCP3IVMm— Michael Scott Moore (@MichaelSctMoore) June 22, 2019
Dear Sarah Fabian— Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) June 22, 2019
I understand attorneys must sometimes advocate for things they don’t agree with.
But I can’t imagine that you took your job with the hope that you’d be asking the courts to approve rules that actually hurt children.
You don’t have to do this. https://t.co/925nFnSoqW
This DOJ’s lawyer’s name is Sarah Fabian. She is arguing that detained children don’t need soap or toothpaste. The judges are stunned.— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) June 22, 2019
What kind of a human being would stand up and argue this? https://t.co/N58fQbwo6W
Everyone needs to see and hear Sarah Fabian make this almost unimaginably unconscionable, inhuman AND inhumane argument before the 9th Circuit. https://t.co/liyPQkgojy— Elizabeth de la Vega (@Delavegalaw) June 22, 2019
In some sense everyone who defends this administration is Sarah Fabian https://t.co/git90hfOHi— Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn) June 22, 2019
"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels...and you've got to make it stop!" —Mario Savio— Colin “Ban the Nazis” O'Boyle (@ColinOBoyle) June 22, 2019
Consider all the people who are defending Sarah Fabian because she's "just doing her job," as if she doesn't have free will.— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) June 22, 2019
When did we reach a point in this country that our jobs became more important than our morality?#SarahFabian
Her name is Sarah Fabian. Don't let her be "A Tr*mp official". Don't let her be anonymous. Whenever anyone searches her name for the rest of her life let them discover that Sarah Fabian doesn't believe children need blankets, soap, or toothbrushes. https://t.co/Dk9F9c8oRr— 🚩Auntie Shepherd🏴 (@NeolithicSheep) June 22, 2019
Ok. Who organizes marches for this? This needs to be front and center. This CAN NOT be who we are as a country.— nick22 (@nick2251924127) June 22, 2019
Just doing their job was proven not to be a defence already ...— Tempeste (@tempeste) June 22, 2019
The lawyer, Sarah Fabian, can choose to not do the job that is asked of her, if it requires telling jusges that detained children do not deserve soap and toothpaste. She could ask ‘what kind of a vile person would argue this?’ And she could choose to not argue for evil. https://t.co/a1lEjmzmn1— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) June 22, 2019
Sarah Fabian? Paging Sarah Fabian! Your room in hell is ready. 😡 https://t.co/SqXBL1tEKe— Trumpelthinskin (@IDontMeanMaybe) June 22, 2019
Judge (holding everything back): “Are you really going to tell us that *sleep* isn’t a part of safe & sanitary conditions?”— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) June 22, 2019
Sarah Fabian (DOJ’s Defender of child torture): “Yes. I. Am.” pic.twitter.com/Tl2PP5u46t
This woman needs to be fired and prevented from ever holding another government job. https://t.co/YgdNVfEqUv— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) June 22, 2019
Replace “this woman” (Sarah Fabian) with “this administration”. This administration needs to be fired and prevented from ever holding another government job. https://t.co/64R5l5foBg— Elizabeth Davidson (@lizstl13) June 22, 2019
For those of you saying don’t go after the DOJ lawyer and that she’s just doing her job. Hey Sarah Fabian you’re just doing your job right ? So were these women at Bergen-Belsen pic.twitter.com/RmszTd4pMb— Mocean Worker aka Adam Dorn (@moceanworker) June 22, 2019
I wish to one day have the audacity to do something as Sarah Fabian did when she argued that kids don't need soap, toothbrushes and blankets in front of a judge who literally spent 3 years in a Japanese Internment camp. pic.twitter.com/MAEwufxUzK— Wesley Chu (@wes_chu) June 22, 2019
“She’s just doing her job” feels like some kind of garbage take when “her job” is to argue that refugee babies don’t deserve toothbrushes, soap, or BEDS.— sarah maclean (@sarahmaclean) June 22, 2019
Drag Sarah Fabian and everyone else who stands up for this. Drag them right to The Hague.
Anyone who doubts why cameras are so important in federal courtrooms should watch this. The monstrosity of the Trump Administration reeks with every spoken line and a cold transcript can never capture it. https://t.co/1kBcDAMFa3— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) June 22, 2019
You can check out Fabian’s arguments — and the judge’s responses — here:
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.