The Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for joint operation of the business, advertising and production operations of Detroit's two daily newspapers, the Free Press and the News.

The justices, by a 7-2 vote, refused to grant a stay blocking the so-called joint operating agreement between the Free Press, owned by Knight-Ridder Inc., and the News, owned by the Gannett Co.The order also lifted a stay granted March 4 by Justice William Brennan. Justices Harry Blackmun and John Stevens voted to continue the stay so an appeal could be heard.

Detroit is the only city besides New York with two large general newspapers with circulations over 650,000.