What Does Chalking Tires Have To Do With The Fourth Amendment?

"To those within and without the legal profession, the ruling is strange. "It's an interesting and unusual case," says Stephen Smith, retired federal judge and Director of Fourth Amendment & Open Courts at Stanford University''s Center for Internet and Society.

What exactly constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment, let alone a reasonable one, is "a term of art," Smith says. But traditionally, for the government to frisk you, or, say, riffle through the house or car that you own, it needed a warrant or immediate probable cause. Up until 1967, courts' understanding of Fourth Amendment protections were dominated by the property doctrine, which—relying on centuries of common law—focused on protecting physical property ownership from warrantless searches."