Cone v. Bell, __ U.S. __, 2009 WL 1118709 (April 28, 2009)
In Cone v. Bell, the Supreme Court concluded that a state court’s decision that an issue was “procedurally defaulted” (see FAQ 5) did not prevent the federal court’s from reviewing the claim since the state procedural bars did not represent independent and adequate state law grounds.
At a later date, I’ll provide a more in depth analysis of this case, including what it means for a procedural bar to represent an independent and adequate state law ground. But that’ll have to wait to when I have had a chance to sit down and read through it.
One thing that can be noted right away is that this was a far more traditional break down of liberal vs. conservative judges. The decision was written by Stevens and he was joined by who you would expect: Ginsburg, Souter, Breyer and Kennedy. Roberts concurred in the judgment. Alito concurred in part and dissented in part. And Scalia and Thomas dissented. It’s nearly a perfect representation of the Court’s current ideological spectrum (except for Alito's partial concurrence; in my mind, he is kind of in between Scalia and Thomas on the spectrum). Kind of interesting.