SCOTUS to Hear Anna Nicole Smith Case:

I’m surprised.  It made sense for SCOTUS to hear the case the first time around because it provided the opportunity to clarify the scope of the probate exception to federal court jurisdiction.  I’m surprised that it took cert this time though.  Unless it is seen as an opportunity to try to tighten up further on the ability of disgruntled heiresses to forum-shop into bankruptcy court in order to relitigate their state law claims.

As I noted when the 9th Circuit decision was announced, although the 9th Circuit got the right result in this case I was still concerned that the narrowness of its opinion left the door open for future forum-shopping by essentially turning the issue into a race as to who could get to a final judgment first.  That is not a good way to deal with the forum-shopping concern, in my view.

On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that the Supreme Court would reverse the central holding in the case.  That this claim under the facts of this case could somehow be a “core” matter strikes me as pretty far-fetched.

Marcus Cole and I have posted a revised version of our working paper that discusses the 9th Circuit’s ruling.  The paper itself is in the final editing process and should be published soon.