A panel of federal judges in San Francisco ruled late Wednesday night that The Los Angeles Herald Examiner could not be stopped from serializiang a controversial profile of Dodger Steve Garvey and his wife, Cyndy, that appears in the current issue of Inside Sports magazine.

On Monday Los Angeles Federal District Judge Robert J. Kelleher issued a temporary restraining order that forbade reprinting the already-published piece. The Herald Examiner appealed to the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, where Appellate Justices Arthur Alarcon, William Canby Jr. and Betty Fletcher ruled that "prior restraint of this publication is prohibited by the First Amendment."

The restraining order had been requested by the Garveys, who last Friday filed an $11.2 million lawsuit in Los Angeles District Court against Pat Jordan, the author of the article, and Newsweek Inc., which publishes Inside Sports. The Garveys claimed in the court papers that they had consented to be interviewed for a "favorable, positively written" story about the "special challenges" in their marriage, and alleged that instead the story was "replete with falsehoods, half-truths and innuendo" and a "misrepresentation of enormous magnitude."

Called "Trouble in Paradise," the article has extensive quotes from both Steve and Cyndy Garvey on their public and private images, and suggests that marriage to a professional athlete can be less glamorous than it seems.

The appeals court ruling states specifically that it has no direct bearing on the Garveys' lawsuit. Attorneys for the couple are claiming breach of an "implied" contract with the writer, libel and an invasion of privacy. Newsweek Inc. has not yet filed its reply to the charges with the court.

In response to the lifting of the temporary restraining order, Newsweek Inc. yesterday issued this statement:

"Yesterday's decision reaffirms the First Amendment right of the press to publish without prior restraint from any court. Allowing a judge to decide what a publication can or cannot print would have been an assault on the Constitution and the 200-year-old American tradition of a free press."