On the cusp of sleep last night, I had a moment of worry as I thought, "Must put in application with CIC before my TEF results expire"--that is, make the final push to finish my Canadian residency app and get it in the queue before my French proficiency exam score reaches its use-by date next March.

But now there's an even larger fire prompting me to act: Rehnquist's death, and the resultant court-packing that looms large on the horizon. John Roberts is bad enough (and, really, all things considered in this Bush-y world, probably not nearly as crackpot a conservative as he could be), but good Lord are we screwed if Scalia or Thomas winds up as Chief Justice. It's painful to think who might get ushered in as the now-ninth justice.

Rehnquist was no liberal hero, to be sure, but he seemed to bring a measure of balance to a court that might've otherwise been in danger of listing ever more to the right. Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement was enough of a blow; Rehnquist's death just seems to obliterate whatever remainder of hope there might've been for a balanced court. How can the more liberal and centrist justices who remain possibly stand up to what's ahead?

ASAP, then: go sit for the photos needed for my application, and cobble together the money for the fees. Must get my paperwork on some CIC official's desk before another groundswell of discontent here inspires more likeminded Americans to do the same, before the application process takes longer than it already does. I can't bear the thought of being around to witness first-hand the demise of rulings on privacy and other rights and freedoms we're sadly sure to see the end of. They were great while they lasted.

William Rehquist and your balanced Supreme Court, RIP.

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