Nadon spat between Harper, chief justice McLachlin called 'disturbing'

The association that represents lawyers in Canada is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to acknowledge that the chief justice of the Supreme Court has done nothing wrong.

Head of Canadian Bar Association hopes PR battle ‎a misunderstanding

Beverley McLachlin, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, warned the government in advance there could be a 'potential issue' with a federal court judge, as Justice Marc Nadon is, being appointed to the top court. (Fred Chartrand/ Canadian Press)

The association that represents lawyers in Canada is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to acknowledge that the chief justice of the Supreme Court has done nothing wrong.

The Canadian Bar Association says it's deeply concerned about the public spat between Harper and Beverley McLachlin.

Late Thursday, Harper's office suggested McLachlin acted improperly last July when she advised his office that Marc Nadon, a Federal Court of Appeal judge, might not fit the legal criteria set for Quebec appointees to the Supreme Court.

McLachlin issued a statement saying all she wanted to ensure was that the government was aware of the eligibility issue, but didn't express any opinion on the merits of the eligibility issue.

Bar association president Fred Headon says he hopes this is a misunderstanding but is expressing concern that Harper's comments on the disagreement, made on Friday, could erode public confidence in the Supreme Court.

"Disagreement between PM & Chief Justice surprising & disturbing; hopefully a misunderstanding," Headon wrote on Twitter.

He says Harper should clarify publicly that McLachlin acted appropriately.

Harper ended up nominating Nadon and McLachlin swore him in last fall.

But constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati challenged the appointment and the Supreme Court ruled in March that Nadon did not meet the legislated eligibility requirements.

With files from CBC News