Wonderful news! US District Judge Shira Scheidlin rejected credit rating agencies arguments that their fraudulent deceptive and misleading “opinions” about a securities credit rating should be protected under the first amendment.

This is a net positive for Main Street, the agencies were paid handsome, exorbitant fees to provide fraudulent and deceptive credit ratings. It is no longer an opinion when they are paid to lie. Scheindlin says the 1st amendment does not provide a defense. Opinions by the credit rating agencies can be the basis for a lawsuit “if the speaker does not genuinely and reasonably believe it or if it is without basis in fact.

The specific case Scheidlin is ruling on has to do with teh rating agencies and Morgan Stanley. The credit rating agencies compensation was based on the securities obtaining the desired ratings that MS could sell to investors. The agencies “were paid more than three times their normal fees,”  noted Bloomberg.

Hang ‘em high, Judge Scheidlin, hang ‘em high!