Rack and Ruin
The Supreme Court considers Anna Nicole's surprisingly real claims.
Breyer asks whether the Texas probate court had all the documents available to the California bankruptcy court. That and more, says Brunstad. (Richland will later dispute this.)
Then Breyer has another run at him. J. Howard Marshall "said go draw it up so I can give gifts to her while we are married. Do it. And they never did!" Anna, who has seemingly always relied upon the kindness of strangers, is further rewarded when Breyer scolds Brunstad: "They hired private detectives to keep her from his bedside … this is quite a story."
Souter makes it even plainer. Why isn't she entitled to go to court and claim, "I just want some money from this guy"? On and on they go, beating the heck out of Brunstad. Scalia hands off to Breyer who hands off to Chief Justice John Roberts, who passes it back to Ginsburg. It's a rare team event from the court, and Brunstad does an admirable job standing his ground, even as it's slipping away from under him.
It seems cruel to report that Anna Nicole then stood and exited the courtroom, leaving the building by a side door and again granting no interviews. I would love to tell you that she did something, anything, to distinguish herself from the thousands of appellants who have brought their cases into these marble walls. But the court has worked its magical spell of blandness, even upon Anna, and she is just another litigant with a probate dispute today. She has stepped into the only place in America where her breasts have no power.
J. Howard must be spinning in his grave.
Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate.
Photograph of Anna Nicole Smith on the Slate home page by Win McNamee/Getty Images.