Christie erred in abolishing housing council, N.J. high court rules

Gov. Chris Christie berated the New Jersey Supreme Court over its ruling that he does not have the authority to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing.

The governor accused the court of perpetuating a “failed experiment in housing.” And Christie blasted Chief Justice Stuart Rabner’s decision as an activist and arrogant opinion that’s the product of a liberal Supreme Court.

The Council on Affordable Housing was set up to enforce state court rulings that New Jersey towns have an obligation to provide housing for low- and moderate-income residents.

In a 5-2 decision Wednesday, the court said Christie exceeded his authority when he decided to shut down the council and transfer its key functions to officials who report to him.

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An attorney with the Fair Share Housing Center, which filed the lawsuit challenging Christie’s decision to transfer the Council’s functions to the state Department of Community Affairs, termed the ruling a victory for transparency and public involvement in decisions on providing affordable housing.

“I think it will be interesting to see what happens in the future,” said Adam Gordon. “What’s most important is that we have an independent, nonpolitical way to make sure that homes get built for people in New Jersey who need them, people with special needs, lower income seniors, and working families.”

Christie said he issued the executive orders abolishing the council known as COAH was a way of cutting red tape.

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