During World World War II Vassalli was imprisoned by Nazi forces in Rome and subjected to torture. Pope Pius XII intervened personally on his behalf and was able to have his life spared
In 1987 Giovanni Goria named him Minister of Justice, he was confirmed along with Ciriaco De Mita and Giulio Andreotti. During this time he approved a new proceeding criminal code.
President Francesco Cossiga appointed him to the Constitutional Court of Italy 4 February 1991 and woved nine days after.
He was Vice-president of the court from 1996 to 1999 under Renato Granata, and its President from 11 November 1999 to 13 February 2000. Retirement
Although in his later years Vassalli retired from public life, he was sometimes asked for his advice.
During 2001 Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sought his advice over the European Arrest Warrant and Vassalli answered that it was a violation of the principles of natural justice.
After 1945 Vassalli joined the Italian Socialist Party. From 1968 to 1972 he was a deputy, and then from 1983 to 1987 a senator for this party.
Partisan Military Command, Rome. Accademia dei Lincei.