Now that a judge has awarded Lehman Brothers approval to exit bankruptcy, the investment bank that everybody loves to hate is one step closer to retribution. Reuters reports on the end of the largest bankruptcy filing in United States history:

The approval was granted by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Peck at a hearing in Manhattan. Lehman expects to begin payouts of an estimated $65 billion to creditors early next year.

Once the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank, Lehman is now a shell of its former self, having sold or closed many of its operations. Peck said Lehman may now proceed with its plan to wind down its remaining operations.

It only cost them $1.5 billion in legal fees -- which is just half of what Lehman Brothers lost in the second quarter of 2008 and just a teeny tiny fraction of the estimated $17 trillion Americans lost in the crisis Lehman helped to create. Congratulations are not in order.