It is clear that Ms. White was gutsy in going after John Gotti and terrorists. But her record on large and complex financial fraud cases is more mixed. This, coupled with her more recent defense work on behalf of the nation’s largest banks, means that she still has much to prove to the investors that the S.E.C. was created to protect.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.