BUENOS AIRES — Argentina's Supreme Court ruled Friday that a widely hated banking freeze is unconstitutional, striking a surprise blow at government efforts to shore up the teetering financial system.
The court voted 5 to 0 against the freeze, ruling in favor of plaintiffs who had demanded their trapped savings.
It said that the executive decree authorizing the limits ran roughshod over citizens' rights to their savings, that it was "irrational" and that it virtually "annihilated" constitutional rights to private property. Three judges abstained.
It remained unclear whether the government will now be obliged to permit the full withdrawal of deposits.
The government of President Eduardo Duhalde had no immediate comment, with officials saying they were still studying the decision.
Economy Ministry sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, interpreted the ruling as a narrow decision that applies only to plaintiffs who filed lawsuits demanding their money from the banks.
But some constitutional experts said the ruling on a specific case set a precedent for what could be a wave of lower court cases by depositors wanting access to their cash.