Model and reality star Anna Nicole Smith has been dead since 2007, but the battle over the $1.6 billion estate of her late billionaire husband has raged on for over a decade. Today the matter was finally put to rest by the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled 5–4 that the will of J. Howard Marshall must be obeyed and that his estate should go entirely to his heirs. The other principal actor in the case, Marshall's son Pierce, is also dead, which caused Chief Justice John Roberts to compare the situation to Charles Dickens's Bleak House in his ruling. Roberts, who spent much of his ruling explaining the limits of power for bankruptcy judges, wrote that a Texas court's original ruling that Marshall meant to keep Anna Nicole out of the will must be obeyed. A later bankruptcy court decision in California had awarded her with $89 million, but that decision was nullified. Anna's surviving daughter, Dannielynn, will receive nothing from the Marshall family. The 4-year-old currently lives with her photographer father, Larry Birkhead.
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