Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith has an unusual bedfellow in the Supreme Court fight over her late husband’s fortune: the Bush administration.

The administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer filed arguments on behalf of Mrs. Smith in her effort to win her late husband’s $474 million estate and wants to take part when the justices consider the role of federal courts in state probate proceedings.

The court will decide early next year whether to let the U.S. solicitor general share time with Mrs. Smith’s attorney during the one-hour argument on Feb. 28.

Mrs. Smith, a reality television star and native Texan, plans to attend the court argument.

She is trying to collect millions of dollars from the estate of J. Howard Marshall II, the oil tycoon she married in 1994 when he was 89 and she was a 26-year-old model. Mr. Marshall died in 1995.

A federal bankruptcy judge sided with Mrs. Smith in the fight over her late husband’s estate, awarding her $474 million. That was reduced to about $89 million by a federal district judge, then thrown out altogether by a federal appeals court.

The Bush administration’s filings in the case are technical. Without getting into the details of the family squabble, Solicitor General Paul Clement said the justices should protect federal court jurisdiction in disputes.

Filings are due next month by groups backing E. Pierce Marshall, the deceased oil tycoon’s son.

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