State Ports Authority and Charleston city officials this morning applauded the South Carolina Supreme Court's decision to take jurisdiction over a controversial lawsuit filed against Carnival Cruise Lines.

The SPA and the city had asked the court to take "original jurisdiction" in the case, a move aimed at getting a definitive court ruling as quickly as possible, saying that the lawsuit against Carnival threatened maritime commerce in South Carolina.

The Southern Environmental Law Center sued Carnival in 2011 on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League, Charleston Preservation Society and the Charles Towne and Ansonborough neighborhood associations. The suit raises legal questions about Carnival's use of Union Pier, and the application of city ordinances to the cruise ship business.

The suit claims that Carnival is breaking local and state laws, and asks the court to find Carnival's use of the Union Pier Terminal illegal.

The city, and the SPA, joined the lawsuit on Carnival's side.

In a joint statement this morning, the city and SPA said: "We are pleased that the Supreme Court has granted review of this case in its original jurisdiction, and we look forward to having these important legal issues decided as soon as possible. An expedited resolution has huge significance for all of the state's ocean trade, not just for cruise ships alone."

Representatives of the Southern Environmental Law Center could not immediately be reached for comment.

Read more in Wednesday's editions of The Post and Courier.