In an important procedural ruling yesterday, the D.C. Circuit reversed two lower-court orders that dismissed lawsuits against the HHS mandate brought by Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College. The D.C. Circuit took “as a binding commitment” a Department of Justice lawyer’s statements that the HHS mandate would never be enforced “in its current form” against either plaintiff and that HHS would publish its proposed new rule for religious nonprofits by the end of March 2013 and would issue a new final rule before August 1, 2013. Based on those commitments, the court held the cases in abeyance and ordered the government to provide status reports on the new rule every 60 days.