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Wed Sep 13, 2017, 11:10 AM

How Anna Nicole Smith's Billionaire In‑Laws Secretly Lobbied the Courts

Retweeted by David Fahrenthold: https://twitter.com/Fahrenthold

A Playboy centerfold, a retired congresswoman, and a stealth campaign to influence the courts



How Anna Nicole Smith’s Billionaire In‑Laws Secretly Lobbied the Courts

By Zachary R. Mider
September 13, 2017

When the heirs of a Texas oil billionaire went to court in a $75 million tax dispute, they got help from an unlikely ally: Barber-Scotia College, the nation’s first institution of higher learning for black women. ... The school, founded in North Carolina after the Civil War to educate the daughters of freed slaves, had fallen on hard times. Stripped of accreditation and mired in debt, it sometimes wasn’t able to pay staff.

Barber-Scotia might seem the last place for the family of J. Howard Marshall II, famous for his May-December romance with Playboy centerfold Anna Nicole Smith, to look for help with a tax matter. And top officials there say they’ve never heard of the case. Yet there was Barber-Scotia’s name, along with those of four other historically black colleges and universities, on a friend-of-the-court brief submitted in 2013 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

“I have a feeling someone forged whatever it was,” said David Olah, Barber-Scotia’s president, echoing the school’s outside lawyer and its former executive chairman. ... The brief was part of a campaign by the Marshall family, orchestrated by a Washington consulting firm, to influence two of the nation’s highest courts, according to an examination of confidential documents and emails as well as interviews with participants. The campaign shows how it’s possible for well-funded litigants to stack the deck by generating phony friends of the court, or by paying advocates who present themselves as independent but are really lobbyists in disguise.

Outside Voices

The friend of the court, or amicus curiae, occupies a peculiar place in the U.S. legal system. Amici are meant to be outside voices, aiding judges by making arguments the parties don’t. Although they’ve been around for more than a century, they’ve proliferated in recent years. The Supreme Court received 863 amicus briefs in the 2015-2016 term, double the number 20 years earlier and more than it got in the whole decade of the 1950s.

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Reply How Anna Nicole Smith's Billionaire In‑Laws Secretly Lobbied the Courts (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 13 OP
BigmanPigman Sep 13 #1

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 05:39 PM

1. Her daughter's father should take it back to court.

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