Argentina received a Thanksgiving surprise from U.S. Judge Thomas Griesa, who ruled last week that the Buenos Aires government must pay $1.3 billion to holders of defaulted debt. The decision has infuriated the government of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, members of which likened the judge to a vulture and called his ruling a form of “legal colonialism.”

More than just Argentine pride rides on the appeal, however: Mr. Griesa’s decision has potentially sweeping implications for debt restructuring and could damage the United States’ status as a center for future deals.

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