Anna Nicole’s Supreme Court Circus Finally Ends

My previous post regarding Stern v. Marshall closed with the phrase: May justice prevail.   Today, sixteen years after this circus began for the Marshall family, it finally did.

After nearly two decades, mounting legal fees and two trips to the land’s highest court, a long-awaited decision in Stern v. Marshall finally arrived.   In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled against the estate of the late Anna Nicole Smith and delivered a clear victory for the Marshall estate.

The high court ruled that a California bankruptcy court’s decision that awarded the now-deceased Playmate centerfold $475 million (later reduced to $88 million) from the estate of businessman J. Howard Marshall II was decided incorrectly.

The 26-year old Smith and the 89-year old Marshall were wed in 1994.  Marshall died the next year.

Marshall left his estate to his now deceased son, E. Pierce Marshall, specifically and intentionally electing not to include Smith.  A California bankruptcy court then awarded Smith part of the estate.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, ruled that a bankruptcy court could not enter a final decision on an issue outside of bankruptcy law.  Today, the high court agreed.

The Supreme Court’s decision should put an end to other pending litigation that Howard K. Stern, executor of Smith’s estate, and Larry Birkhead are pursuing against the Marshall’s in their efforts to exploit the legal system for personal gain.

Despite the twists and turns for the Marshall family, J. Howard and E. Pierce Marshall can finally rest in peace.  At long last, Lady Justice has prevailed.

22 thoughts on “Anna Nicole’s Supreme Court Circus Finally Ends

  1. Is there anything for the child? I was wondering how that would work out for dannielynn(sp?)? It is the child who will more than likely suffer from an improper ruling….

    1. since the child is not a “marshall” there’s probably nothing provided at this time…nor should there be…

      1. Dannielynn has no connection to the Marshall family and should get NOTHING.
        She is a complete stranger to them.

  2. maybe the marshall family can put all this nonsense behind them….It is a shame the supremes had to become involved in something that was ridiculous and frivolous from beginning to end.

  3. The bankruptcy court was so out of line. The Texas probate court spent months and gave their decision. Besides, Marshall had been a trust attorney and gave millions to ANS while he was alive. It is clear as a bell he wanted his estate to go to his son E. Pierce.

  4. I hope this puts all the legal actions to rest.I get tired of hearing the rants and ravings of greedy lunatics who profess to be entitled to any all monies in the marshall estate.

  5. I won a bet from my mom. She figured that the money would be split between marshalls and the smith baby.hooray!!!!

  6. I would love to read the supreme court ruling.I bet it will be in the news papers shortly.I figured it would go this way.

  7. I am surprised about the ruling.I don’t think it was fair.I think ans should be entitled to money and the baby too.

    1. Stephen W. -you are crazy! What is wrong with you? Don’t you know Marshall gave ANS $millions, and I do mean literally millions$ while he was alive. This case was pure GREED, ugly.
      Not to mention abuse of the court system. You must be some kind of nut.

  8. Janice, your coverage of this case has been spot-on. It is about time that SCOTUS vindicated the Marshall family and finally put an end to the Smith estate’s frivolous abuse of the US legal system. This case should have never been allowed to drag on as long as it did.

  9. Here is a link to the full decision:

    From the standpoint of the law, it was a close (5/4) and subtle question involving an esoteric jurisidictional issue. I suspect that the conservative majority on the court was more driven by the result than anything else. Even Scalia had to acknowledge that “the more fundamental flaw in the many tests suggested by our jurisprudenceis that they have nothing to do with the text or tradition of Article III.” That’s judge speak for “our caselaw sucks.”

    In the end, Scalia, in his trademark fashion, distills the issue to a narrow albeit unnecessary distinction that “Perhaps historical practice permits non-Article III judges to process claims against the bankruptcy estate, see, e.g., Plank, Why Bankruptcy Judges Need Not and Should Not Be Article III Judges, 72 Am. Bankr. L. J. 567,607–609 (1998); the subject has not been briefed, and so I state no position on the matter. But Vickie points to no historical practice that authorizes a non-Article III judge to adjudicate a counterclaim of the sort at issue here

  10. I wonder why it took so long and had to go through so many legal proceedings to settle something a sixth grader could have resolved in about 5 minutes.

  11. thinking that this case could have any other outcome would be folly. I am glad the supreme court used good “common sense” as well as the rule of law.

  12. as a first year law student, i find it interesting how this case played itself out.I am looking forward to reading the full text from the majority and minority opinions of the scotus.

  13. Remove PR Sally above. Wrong to put on name of commenter. How would she like her personal info posted on a blog?? Also slimy of her to pretend to be complimenting when really she is implying that NM is a paid serf of the Marshalls. Remove Sally’s post.

  14. Whoa!!!! I didn’t know names would be exposed on here….is that protocol? personally, I find that rude and offensive ….this makes me very uncomfortable.

  15. PRSally’s comment has been removed as it contained personal information about an individual. There are new commenting guidelines that I have posted which I ask the community to adhere to on my blog.

  16. Now I want Lady Justice to take care of Howard Stern. In my opinion, he is disgusting the way he pimped ANS.

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