The Late Anna Nicole Smith Loses Her Supreme Court Case

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 28: Following oral arguments in her case, Former Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith leaves the U.S. Supreme Court February 28, 2006 in Washington DC. Smith is involved in a case before the court regarding the estate of her late husband, Texas oilman J. Howard Marshall II. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) Photo: Win McNamee/2006 Getty Images

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.

Anna Nicole Smith’s Estate Loses at High Court on Fortune [Bloomberg]
Related: New York's in-depth profile of Anna Nicole in our Best Doctors Issue [NYM]