James Howard Marshall II (January 24, 1905 – August 4, 1995) was a wealthy magnate, American oil business executive, university professor, attorney and federal government official. His life spanned more than nine decades and almost the entire history of the oil industry, from the early years when uncontrolled production depleted valuable fields and natural gas was burned at the well head, to the decades of energy shortages and the Arab Oil Embargo. Marshall was married to Anna Nicole Smith during the last 14 months of his life. His estate became the subject of protracted litigation which remains ongoing, part of which was reviewed by the Supreme Court in Marshall v. Marshall.
Born January 24, 1905 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, J. Howard Marshall II attended George School, a private Quaker high school in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and then studied liberal arts at Haverford College, also a Quaker institution, graduating in 1926. While at George School and Haverford he edited the school newspapers, captained the debate teams and played soccer and tennis under the instruction of professional Bill Tilden. He went on to Yale Law School, graduating in 1931 Magna cum laude. At Yale, he was case editor of the Yale Law Journal and studied with the law and economics pioneer Walton Hale Hamilton, who would strongly influence his future work.
Upon graduation he served from 1931 to 1933 as an Assistant Dean at Yale Law School and his teaching schedule during these years has been definitively documented. At the same time, he was producing scholarship as a member of the influential legal realist school of thought, working with future Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas on an article entitled A Factual Study of Bankruptcy Administration and Some Suggestions. However, his most influential works, done with Norman Meyers, were two articles entitled Legal Planning of Petroleum Production. These pioneering studies offered an alternative to the then-current practices of controlled production among the oil industry, which were leading to dramatic boom/bust cycles, and gained the interest of the government, especially since the legal minds behind the New Deal were staunch legal realists.