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In one of its last opinions of the 2010 term, the U.S. Supreme Court decided, in Stern v. Marshall, that Anna Nicole Smith, a former Playboy model and minor television celebrity, will get nothing from the estate of her late husband, J. Howard Marshall II, a billionaire Texas oil tycoon.

This marks the end of a sixteen-year battle about whether J. Howard’s son, Pierce Marshall, wrongfully interfered with his father’s alleged plans to gift substantial sums of money and property to his new, and much younger, bride. In this column, I’ll explain the history of the litigation, including how it got all the way to the U.S Supreme Court (twice), and comment on why the Justices ruled as they did.