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U.S. Justice Department building in WashingtonU.S. Justice Department building in Washington (Michael A. Scarcella/ ALM Media)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions overcame reluctance among top lawyers under his command and pushed forward last week in the U.S. Supreme Court to support a Colorado baker who refused on religious grounds to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, according to lawyers with knowledge of the U.S. Justice Department’s decision.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Senior lawyers in the civil and civil rights divisions and within the U.S. solicitor general’s office said the department should not take a position in the case, the sources told The National Law Journal.

Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, the Justice Department’s top appellate lawyer, filed the amicus brief for the United States on Sept. 7 in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, likely one of the most contentious cases of the new term. While it is rare for any U.S. attorney general to countermand the recommendation of the solicitor general, such an action is within the power of the office.

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