The next generation of federal judges in South Florida — aiming to fill five openings on the bench — will soon be picked by President Donald Trump. The unprecedented number of vacancies will give Trump the opportunity to reshape the federal court in the Southern District of Florida. A panel of influential power brokers appointed by both U.S. senators in Florida recently pared down the list of 45 initial applicants to just 10. U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, a Republican, and Bill Nelson, a Democrat, will interview them and recommend all 10 or just five to the president. The list of finalists, chosen from 24 applicants who qualified for interviews last week with the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, includes nine men and one woman. Seven of the finalists are currently serving on the state circuit court, mostly in Miami-Dade County, and three are current or former federal prosecutors in Miami— including the acting U.S. attorney. Only two finalists are from Broward County and none is from Palm Beach County. Never miss a local story. Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. SUBSCRIBE NOW Not everyone is pleased with the line-up of finalists, noting the counties north of Miami-Dade are not well represented. “The bench should reflect that diversity as well as diversity of gender, race and ethnicity,” said one Miami lawyer, a former federal prosecutor who has followed the nominating process but does not want to be identified. “There also needs to be diversity of legal experience before taking the bench. The bench would benefit from lawyers with substantial civil trial experience, who have represented actual clients who have problems that need to be heard.” The South Florida finalists are: Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg and former federal prosecutors Roy Altman and Melissa Visconti; Miami-Dade circuit judges Antonio Arzola, Peter Lopez, Rodolfo Ruiz, Rodney Smith and John Thornton; and Broward circuit judges David Haimes and Raag Singhal. Under the nominating commission’s rules, the two Florida senators could also veto one of the 10 finalists and add one of their choice from the initial applicants. There is lingering tension between