Mary Jo White went from being under consideration as Chair of the SEC to the likely choice, to officially nominated in little more than a week. The nomination still leaves one opening (Chairman Walter's term has expired). Commissioner Paredes' term apparently ends in June.
The process of Senate confirmation could go quickly. Mary Jo White is not, by trade, a securities lawyer (at least beyond the securities laws involved in the litigation context). What she is is a prosecutor who has a history of strong enforcement (with the added benefit of managerial experience having overseen the US Attorneys Office in the Southern District). In the post-Madoff world, this is the safest type of appointment for purposes of confirmation.
At the same time, however, positions on the Commission have increasingly been paired at the time of confirmation, with nominees representing each political party being confirmed at the same time. This was the case most recently with respect to Commissioners Aguilar (for a second term) and Gallagher. Back in 2008, Commissioners Aguilar, Walter and Paredes were confirmed on the same day.
It does not always happen this way, at least with respect to the chair of the Commission. Mary Schapiro was confirmed without having been paired. Of course, when she was confirmed, there were no other opening on the Commission. Chris Cox, however, was paired with Commissioners Campos and Nazareth when they were confirmed back in 2005.
All of this suggests that confirmations will be easier when there are persons from both parties up for nomination. With Commissioner Paredes seat open in June, that suggests that confirmation will not occur until the early summer.