Catholic peace activists, including an 85-year-old nun, who painted slogans and splashed blood on a Tennessee bunker storing much of the country's highly enriched uranium want an appeals court to overturn their sabotage convictions.

At the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, attorney Marc Shapiro said trespassing and property destruction charges could have been justified, but sabotage was an overreach.

He likened the case to a government overreach case ruling last month in the Supreme Court. Justices said the government wrongfully prosecuted a fisherman for destroying evidence after he dumped undersized grouper under a law targeting accounting fraud passed in the wake of the Enron scandal.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Theodore defended the protesters' convictions. He said that they intended to interfere with national defense and that those actions are covered by the Sabotage Act.