Answering a question about his recent string of white-male Cabinet nominations, White House spokesman Jay Carney says President Obama believes that, considerations of “diversity” notwithstanding, the best qualified individual should be chosen for the job.
He does say that he likes to choose from a list that includes diverse candidates.
Two points: First, if President Obama thinks that he should choose the most qualified applicant, then why doesn’t he think that universities should choose the most qualified applicant? (His administration argued in support of racial preferences in the amicus brief it filed with the Supreme Court recently in University of Texas v. Fisher.) Second, if the decision about who gets picked from the list should be based on merit alone, then why shouldn’t the decision about who gets put on the list be determined by merit alone? Surely you can ensure that a wide net is being cast without requiring a quota-driven list.