What Does This Nomination Mean for the SEC?

secAfter choosing men for his first four cabinet posts, President Obama is expected to make his next nomination to a governmental position a woman. Sources familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal Saturday that he  picked former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White for Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

White was the first woman to serve as a U.S. attorney in Manhattan, where she built her reputation pursuing terrorists. According to the Journal, in her nine years at the job, White oversaw the prosecutions of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who was convicted of bombing the World Trade Center and plotting to blow up U.S. airliners, and Omar Abdel-Rahman, who attempted to blow up important U.S. landmarks. She is currently in charge of the litigation practice at the firm Debevoise & Plimpton.

It is her career as a federal prosecutor that makes White…

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a unique choice for the position. If she is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, White could put a “tougher face on an agency still tainted by embarrassing enforcement missteps in the run-up to the financial crisis,” reported the publication. However, sources indicated that the White House may find it difficult to get any of its nominees through the Senate until the SEC’s Republication Commissioner Troy Paredes’ term expires in June, leaving a second position open for a potential Republican; nominees are more likely to be confirmed if they are paired with a member of the opposing party.

White will be replacing commissioner Elisse Walter, who assumed the leadership position in December after former SEC Chariman Mary Schapiro stepped down.

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