In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court said that Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act does not authorise the agency to seek monetary relief for violations of the law, as it has commonly been used. The court noted that 13(b) doesn’t explicitly authorise the agency to obtain such a remedy, but instead allows the FTC to seek “a permanent injunction” pending administrative proceedings. The decision will significantly hamper the FTC’s ability to return money to consumers duped by deceptive business practices, as the four sitting commissioners testified to Congress on Tuesday. While the issue isn’t directly about monetary relief, Facebook argued the FTC should not be able to claim authority under that law to remedy past conduct, since it only allows the FTC to stop ongoing or imminent legal violations. The case at hand involved a payday loan scheme, for which the court ruled in favor of the FTC, ordering the defendant to pay $1.3 billion in monetary relief. The defendant argued that the FTC lacked the authority to seek such a remedy, ultimately leading to Thursday’s decision.