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Columbian Lawyers Association honors Frank Seddio with Rapallo-Scalia Award

April 18, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mayor Bill de Blasio was on hand as the Columbian Lawyers Association, First Judicial Department honored Frank Seddio with its prestigious Rapallo­Scalia Award. Pictured from left: Suzanne J. Adams, Mayor de Blasio, Hon. Frank Seddio and Marianne Bertuna. Photos by Rob Abruzzese.
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There was plenty of Italian-American pride at the Waldorf Astoria on Friday as Mayor Bill de Blasio was in the house to help the Columbian Lawyers Association, First Judicial Department recognize Hon. Frank Seddio with the Charles A. Rapallo and Justice Antonin Scalia Award during its 51st annual luncheon.

Not only was the Italian-American mayor in the house, but so was Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and some of the most influential Italian-American jurists in the country.

“The Italians are taking over,” de Blasio joked.

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Seddio is the first to receive the award since it underwent a name change to honor the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Seddio, a former surrogate’s court judge and current chair of the Democratic Party in Brooklyn, said he was proud to receive the award named after two influential Italian-Americans.

“Scalia used his God-given talents to interpret the law according to the things that he believed as a mandate in his service to our society,” Seddio said. “He loved serving the people of the country and serving the Supreme Court. To be the first recipient of this award is something I will treasure.”

Marianne Bertuna, president of the Columbian Lawyers Association, introduced the mayor before Seddio was presented with his award. She discussed the importance of Justice Scalia for Italian-Americans and why Seddio was the perfect recipient of the award.

“To know the Hon. Frank Seddio is to have a friend for life,” said Bertuna. “His service to both the bench and the bar makes us all proud to be Italian-Americans.”

Before presenting Seddio with his award, de Blasio discussed Italian-Americans who currently play imperative roles in society. He pointed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Chief Judge DiFiore and even Pope Francis. He then discussed Seddio, asserting that he is yet another Italian to be proud of.

“Democrats in Brooklyn are not a group given to total and perfect unity,” de Blasio said. “We have every kind of people represented, different philosophies [and] egos, and it was very hard to find unity in that environment. Only someone who could win the respect of each of those groups, and every community, could bring that party together.

“When Frank Seddio became the chair of the Kings County Democratic Committee, I felt in my heart he was the kind of person who could make that big step forward,” de Blasio continued. “It would be very tough, but he said he would bring unity, and he’s actually achieved it.

“As an Italian-American, to be in the company of Charles Rapallo and Antonin Scalia, you have to have done something pretty special,” de Blasio said in closing. “Well, I can say as one of the witnesses to what you’ve done, that you belong in that company.”

When he finally got his award, Seddio said it was like winning an Oscar.

“Whenever we speak of this as Italian-American attorneys, we speak of this as if it were the Oscars, the best acting Oscar,” Seddio explained. “The company of the people who have previously received this award is a humbling experience.”


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