CNN:  The estate of the late actress Anna Nicole Smith has lost a Supreme Court appeal in a longstanding fight to secure a share of her deceased husband's fortune.

The 5-4 ruling Thursday was the latest chapter in a tedious legal soap opera, over the kind of evidence a separate bankruptcy court may hear when deciding various claims and counterclaims. State courts generally hear probate cases, while bankruptcy proceedings are confined to federal courts. The high court's 38-page decision will now likely put an end to this particular legal dispute.