The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the government must pay for rescinding favorable accounting rules granted to acquirers of troubled thrifts in the 1980s.

The 7-2 ruling, addressing one of the most contentious issues of the thrift crisis, was a big victory for more than 100 companies that bought ailing savings and loans only to see the accounting treatment vanish. Those companies have been seeking more than $10 billion in damages for the change.

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