Republicans are hoping that a new Appellate Court ruling that townswhich alreadyhave satisfied their Mount Laurel and Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) obligations maystill be required to consider affordable housingzoning applications will move the focus off of Karl Rove and Michele Brown. Mount Laurel has always been a great Republican issue, as long as Republicans don't step on their own feet.
Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) wants the Legislature to come back into session to overhaul COAH – a move that might annoy at least one of his top supporters. The Council on Affordable Housing was created in 1985 by his father, who was then on his way to winning 70% of the statewide vote in his bid for re-election as governor. A year later, Gov. Thomas Kean ignited a firestorm among Republicans by naming the author of the Mount Laurel decision, Chief Justice Robert Wilentz, for a tenured term on the top court. Earlier this summer, Kean Jr. caught heat from conservatives by being only one of four Senate Republicans to vote for lifetime tenure for Associate Justice Barry Albin, a former partner at Wilentz's old law firm.