Judge Kassal was elected to the New York state legislature in 1957 and served through 1962. While a legislator, he authored the New York Arts Council Law, the first law of its kind in the United States, and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Labor and Education in support of the U.S. Council on The Arts Bill. From 1970 to 1993, he served on New York courts, including the New York City Civil Court, the New York Supreme Court, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the April/May 1985 term. Judge Kassal serves on several professional committees in New York, including the Office of New York Court Administration’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, the Appellate Division, Supreme Court, First Department’s Committee on Character and Fitness, and the Mayor’s Committee on City Marshals.
Judge Kassal is active in charitable and pro bono efforts, particularly as a photographer for Save the Children and other charities for at least 35 years. He lectures frequently, including talks with his photos about his World War II overseas experiences, and has three times been designated as a “Distinguished Alumni Speaker” by Harvard Law School.
Judge Kassal enlisted in 1940 and served four years in World War II as an air combat intelligence officer, including 30 months overseas in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. His decorations include the Bronze Star medal and the French Legion of Honor medal awarded by President Nicolas Sarkozy in the presence of President Obama in Normandy in 2009. He received three bronze arrowheads for planning and participating on three D-Day invasions at Sicily, Italy and Southern France. He also personally briefed generals George Patton, Mark Clark, Alexander Patch and Hap Arnold.
While at Harvard Law School, he was a member of the 1940 Harvard undefeated Championship Rugby football team. Subsequently, he played for the New York Rugby Football Club.