Skip to main content

Friends, I have been away for awhile, as most of you know, I'm working on my emerging democracies book while guest lecturing.  However, sometimes you see something so egregious you just have to write about it.  Based on something a friend sent me yesterday, here it is..  Anna Nicole's gold-digging hanger-ons, could really screw up our speciality court system by rewriting precedent.   Bad News = People could literally "court shop" to find one that seems "receptive" (cough, cough) to their case.   In my opinion, this could undermine our judicial system and bring up a whole new possible way to corrupt justices as the cases are shopped.

Could Anna Nicole Smith Impact Your Civil Rights?

The Supreme Court will soon write another chapter in the tumultuous life of Anna Nicole Smith.  The Justices will decide the fate of the infamous 15 year estate battle between Smith and her former husband of 14 months, businessman J. Howard Marshall II.  As Stern v. Marshall is argued before the highest court in the land, legal experts will watch closely.  While this grueling legal battle has gained some attention in the gossip blogs over the years, what many may not know is that the ramifications of this salacious case could have major repercussions on Americans’ civil rights if the Justices decide in favor of Stern.  The case has raised some red flags with many activists that civil claims may be subjected unfairly to adjudication in specialty courts.

This case zeros-in on the jurisdiction of bankruptcy courts.  The Smith-Stern camp claims that a personal tort claim can be considered "core" to a bankruptcy proceeding.  Yet the US Code expressly prohibits personal injury torts from being classified as a "core" bankruptcy issue.

Allowing bankruptcy courts to rule on issues outside their defined jurisdiction would not only be unconstitutional but also set a bad legal precedent.  If the Supremes side with Stern, basic civil rights could be inadvertently violated.  Legal briefs and experts contend that troubling issues could arise if legal counterclaims in a specialty bankruptcy court are allowed to overrule a district civil court ruling.  As National Black Chamber of Commerce President Harry Alford states, “Stern v. Marshall highlights the importance of maintaining the long-held tradition of allowing state and federal courts – who are constitutionally empowered to rule broadly on a variety of issues – to hear cases involving potential violation of civil rights."
On January 18th the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Stern v. Marshall.  Hopefully the Justices entrusted to uphold our Constitution will recognize the perils to basic civil rights if specialty courts are given powers beyond their intended authority.  Even though this case is closely associated with the highly publicized saga of Anna Nicole Smith the implications of the high court’s ruling are, in fact, quite significant.  

Originally posted to unsilentmajority on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 01:35 PM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site