Then-candidate Donald Trump said on the 2016 campaign trail that he’d appoint a U.S. Supreme Court justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia.

He appears to have kept his word on that front as far as criminal cases go, according to legal analysts.

Like Scalia, a Reagan appointee who sometimes sided with the court’s Democrat appointees on criminal matters, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch has voiced support for criminal defendants’ rights but without voting to halt any executions.

The self-styled originalist...