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Must, Should, Shall


This Essay has three parts. Parts I and II look backward. Part I tells the story of the switch from ―shall‖ to ―should‖ in 2007. Part II then explains the events that led the Advisory Committee to propose the amendment that, if it takes effect as scheduled on December 1, 2010, will restore ―shall‖ to the text of Rule 56. Part III looks forward. It addresses a single, critical question: how much discretion to deny summary judgment will trial judges have once ―shall‖ is restored? The answer is this: with the restoration of ―shall,‖ trial courts will return to whatever measure of discretion they had on November 30, 2007 – no more, no less.