It could be the year of the “sleeper” case at the U.S. Supreme Court this term: low-profile cases that have huge implications.

Such cases are more typical of the Supreme Court’s docket than the blockbusters that the court’s been hearing over the last several terms, former Solicitor General Gregory Garre, now of Latham & Watkins LLP, Washington, said at a Sept. 12 preview of the Supreme Court term at George Washington University Law School.

Just last term, the court...