President-elect Donald Trump and Sixth Circuit Judge Raymond M. Kethledge have something in common—blunt opinions.

Senators questioned Kethledge’s lack of judicial experience at his 2008 confirmation hearing, but now he’s on Trump’s list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees.

Kethledge’s notable opinions at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit include a ruling in favor of a Tea Party group and against the Internal Revenue Service.

The judge likes to see candidness and civility in appellate briefs.

Trump has said he will choose someone from his list of potential nominees to...