Holding: A defendant convicted in state court cannot challenge his conviction in a federal habeas corpus petition if there is an independent and adequate basis in state law for rejecting his claims for example, if the defendant missed a deadline created by state law. The Supreme Court ruled that state law is not inadequatemerely because state court judges have discretion whether to apply or ignore it.
Judgment: Vacated and remanded, 8-0, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts on December 8, 2009. Justice Kennedy filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Thomas joined. Justice Alito took no part in the case.