CNN has a commentator who focuses a lot on racial issues and he posted the following article on CNN.com. http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/14/martin.qualified/index.html I posted this response to it: You spent so much time on irrelevancy that though you mentioned the crux of the issue in the last line of the article, I don't think you actually understand the implications of the usage of the word. The point of emphasizing the word "qualified" is to draw a distinction between "qualified" and 'best'. If someone is "obliged" to hire a woman or a minority, then they are no longer looking for the best person for the job, but the best woman or minority for the job. Fortunately, the USSC doesn't have a lot of job openings and though the field of women and minority candidates is pretty thin, there are no doubt good candidates for the job. And though he likely won't get the best candidate for the job if he tosses 90% (99%?) of the resumes of potential candidates straight in the trash, he'll likely still get a good one. The same situation exists when you get thousands of applicants per job at WalMart. The trouble occurs when you start looking to fill most other skilled jobs. It isn't possible to get a ratio that matches the demographics of the nation when the demograpics of (for example) engineers is tilted heavily toward white males. The problem is therefore less about looking for qualitfied alternatives to a white male, but is actually about trying to fill a quota when there simply aren't any alternatives to a white male. That's how you end up with cases where meeting a quota requires absurdities like throwing out testing of fire fighters because it doesn't produce the right demographics of promotable people. Affirmative action is unConstitutional precisely because it forces people to take such blatantly racially discriminatory action to try to follow it. I too long for the day when such wording as "qualified woman or minority" is eliminated, but that day cannot come until people stop demanding that someone be "obliged" to exclude most of the qualified candidates for a job based on their race.