The definition of a reasonable search has bedeviled the United States Supreme Court for some ninety years. Formal logic or legal reasoning assists the Court in tracing premise to conclusion, but does not alone suggest the initial premise. The Court's difficulty in fourth amendment cases, in general, lies in identifying the premise-the fundamental value which is embodied in this constitutional guarantee. The Court has recognized that this fundamental value, whatever it is, has an origin outside the language of the amendment, and the Court has considered sources such as history, popular consensus, natural law, and utilitarian balancing to find this origin. None of these, however, provides an adequate basis for answering the variety and complexity of fourth amendment issues that confront the Court.

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