Naranjibhai Patel and other motel operators in Los Angeles (plaintiffs) filed a federal suit against the City of Los Angeles (City) (defendant), alleging that Los Angeles Municipal Code § 41.49 permitted unreasonable searches and seizures in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Section 41.49 required hotel or motel operators to keep certain records regarding all guests and to make the records available for inspection by any City police officer upon demand. Failure to comply with the ordinance constituted a misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The district court found for the City. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that the ordinance was facially unconstitutional. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.