The Supreme Court's bankruptcy court-based decision in Stern v. Marshall has made headlines partially because of the case's major players: Anna Nicole Smith, the now-deceased Playboy Playmate and E. Pierce Marshall, son of the billionaire tycoon she was married to.
But the Supreme Court 5-4 decision also narrows the authority of U.S. bankruptcy courts - state-law based decisions will not be allowed by bankruptcy court judges.
Smith married her late husband, J. Howard Marshall, when she was 26 and he was 89. He died not too long after their nuptials. Smith was then embroiled in a legal battle with E. Pierce Marshall, her late husband's son, for part of the $1.6 billion estate that Howard left behind.