On Monday, a single, ringing court decision gave hope that Wall Street will finally be held to account for its role in causing the financial crisis. Federal District Court Judge Jed Rakoff’s opinion may soon force the SEC, the federal government’s investment regulator, to take big banks to court, rather than continuing to come to terms with them in out-of-court settlements.
Bank of America and the SEC were blasted on Monday in a ruling issued by a Federal District Judge. The two parties had proposed a settlement deal over bonuses that had been paid to Merrill Lynch last year. The judge, Jed Rakoff, not only rejected it; he criticized the ethics of the proposal: "the proposed Consent Judgement is neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate. It is not fair, first and foremost, because it does not comport with the most elementary notions of justice and morality," The entire (shockingly bold) ruling has been posted below.