Anna Nicole Smith was not just your average
blond, ex- Playboy centerfold sexpot.
 

Smith was undoubtedly beautiful, but perhaps we underestimated her
intellectual ability to testify in the U.S. Supreme Court and win a case of first
impression on whether a bankruptcy court can hear probate issues based on
inheritance.

When Smith married billionaire Howard Marshall II in 1994 she was a single
mother, a self proclaimed stripper and model.   She was 26 and he was 89.

This set off a huge and messy will contest between her and his youngest
son Pierce Marshall.   Smith would also probably realize that at some point
she would have to prove that this marriage was sincere and would last a
lifetime. For the billionaire it was his last year. But there was testimony that
she was the light of his life and in his last days were his happiest ever.  
Smith claimed her marriage was one of mutual love and respect,  just like
many others.   
Under the First Amendment we can choose to associate with
whom we please, even if the relationship to others may not be an idyllic one.

This marriage under Texas law, was subject to the widow’s rights of
inheritance. There seemed to be no coercion, duress or confusion about
Marshall’s love for Smith when he made gifts to her worth $6.6 million, and
promised her half of his estate.

Venue and jurisdiction for inheritance

At issue in the legal battle was competing court jurisdiction over where her
claims against her late billionaire husband’s estate  would be decided .  
Her husband dies in Texas, and his son, her stepson, probated the will
there.  A Texas court held a trial on whether she was entitled to an
inheritance from Marshall, and decided she deserved nothing.  Smith then
filed for bankruptcy in the federal court in California, where she tried to
assert as assets her claims against her late husband’s estate and against
her stepson.
Smith  probably chose the federal forum because she did
not think she would get a fair shake in the Texas state court because
of Howard’s family influence.
When she won a partial victory,  her stepson
took a series of appeals. At issue was the long-standing “probate matters”
exception to federal jurisdiction, a principal that held that federal courts
would not hear cases involving probate issues.  This was a principal based
on custom, not statute or Constitution, and when the case was finally
appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court , the Court ruled that the
California bankruptcy court could in fact hear her claim and that she could
pursue her claim there.  Anna Nicole’s moral position was vindicated as well
when Justice  Ruth Bader Ginsbug wrote that her stepson, Peirce Marshall,
had “engaged in forgery, fraud and over-reaching to gain control of his father’
s assets.”  The case  has been remanded and is now pending in the
California federal court.

What is also important to note about this case is that a will contest is always
nasty, however when one side has money to fight as in this case the
outcome can be even be worse.  Here both parties had the money to do so.

Now we have no doubt that the battle for legal custody of the baby girl is at
issue, but how much money will she inherit?  Smith’s will left everything to
her son Daniel, who we know died tragically as his mother did,  but she did
not provide for her little girl.  This will lead to even more litigation..

Nicole had a life that, at first, was the envy of many young women. She was  
always in the media, some people didn't even know why. Her sometimes
outlandish behavior was part of her attraction as to why we were interested
in watching her.

Her beauty may have been excessive for some, but underneath
it all there was an intelligent, self made woman who knew
exactly what she wanted in life, and has been judged more
harshly than most  for doing so.

This article is dedicated to Anna Nicole Smith.  
You were a woman who,in my opinion,  perhaps didn’t  get the respect you
deserved while you were alive. You may have also been totally
misunderstood and misjudged.  The U.S. Supreme Court, however, thought
otherwise.

Copyright 2007 Lydia Cotz
Judged & Misjudged:   

Anna Nicole Smith’s Journey
to the U. S. Supreme Court

by
Lydia Cotz
A Woman Lawyers View
Please Send Us Your Feedback
* Required Field
Your name:
*
Email:
*
How did you discover
HouseWifeMafia.com?
What are you enjoying
most so far?:
Where are you writing
from?:
*
Questions, comments, ideas or feedback:
VOICES OF OUR READERS

Copyright © 2008 HouseWife Mafia All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.
HouseWifeMafia.com copyright materials may not be reproduced in whole or in part by persons, organizations or corporations
without the prior written permission of the Legal Department HouseWifeMafia.com.Housewifemafia.com and all its derivatives
have been recognized and documented by the Library of Congress, Copyright Office, Washington D.C.
Copyright HouseWife Mafia Media & Publishing.
How to get
published in
HouseWifeMafia.com
HOME
SITE MAP
SPEAK
YOUR
TRUTH
in the
.HouseWifeMafia
GUEST
BOOK
CHAT ROOM

FORUM
Never miss a thing!

Sign up for our
free weekly
newsletter!

We respect your privacy
and your email address will
not be used for any other
purpose or shared with
anyone else.  Ever.
Join the Mailing List
Enter your name and email address below:
Name:
Email:
Subscribe  Unsubscribe 
SITE MAP
SITE MAP
HouseWifeMafia.com Sister Sites
Ring Owner: HouseWifeMafia.com  Site: HouseWifeMafia.com
Free Site Ring from Bravenet Free Site Ring from Bravenet Free Site Ring from Bravenet Free Site Ring from Bravenet Free Site Ring from Bravenet
Get Your Free Web Ring
by Bravenet.com
Grants for the
Serious Writer -
Our best selling

ebook now in its 6th edition.
$8.95 for 600+ grants for
writers.
No fees and no loans.
Find grants designed
specifically for writers
.
$8.95
Short & Sweet -
Markets for Fillers -
160+ markets for
those little snippets of
information, lists of genius,
brainiac puzzles, and
side-splitting jokes just
might have a byline
opportunity while paying
you a few dollars as well.
All the markets pay
in cash.      
$7.95
The No Fee
Contest Book
-
310+ contests that don't
charge fees. For those who
just can't make themselves
pay others to submit work.
Double the size of the first
edition, t
his book leads
you to serious
contests paying from
$50 to $100,000.
Still only $7.95
And by the way,
everything in life
is writable about
if you have the
outgoing guts
to do it, and the
imagination to
improvise.  The
worst enemy to
creativity is
self-doubt.

~Sylvia Plath
Counter
Laughter is
the shortest distance
between two people.  

~Victor Borge
Quick Links To
Voices Of Our Readers