Justice Carol W. Hunstein was appointed to the Supreme Court in November 1992 by then Governor Zell Miller. She is the second woman in history to serve as a permanent member of the Court. In 1984 Justice Hunstein won election to the Superior Court of DeKalb County. Prior to serving on the bench, Justice Hunstein was in private practice. She has been a member of the Georgia Bar since 1976.
Justice Hunstein received her Juris Doctor in 1976 from Stetson University College of Law. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Atlantic University in 1972 and an Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade Junior College in 1970.
As a superior court judge, she was active at the county, state and national levels. She chaired many DeKalb County Committees including the Alimony and Support Unit Committee, the Diversion Center Committee, the Probation Committee and the Domestic Violence Task Force. In 1989, then Chief Justice Marshall appointed her to Chair the Georgia Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, which issued its report to the Supreme Court in 1991. She is a former district director of the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) and chaired the local host committee for the NAWJ 1995 Annual Conference which was held in Atlanta.
Justice Hunstein was the first woman to serve as President of the Council of Superior Court Judges. By virtue of that office, she was the first person ever to have served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court before becoming a permanent member of the Court. (In 1991, all seven sitting justices recused themselves and designated seven superior court judges to hear and decide a case. Justice Hunstein, as President of the Council, served by designation as Chief Justice.)
Justice Hunstein chaired the 1993, 1998 and 2001 State Commissions on Child Support Guidelines. She has served on the Advisory Board of the Justice Center of Atlanta and the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. She is a former Rosalynn Carter Honorary Fellow in Public Policy at the Emory University Institute on Women’s Studies. She also served as an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law.
She is the former chair of the Georgia Commission on Access and Fairness, which was charged with implementing the recommendations of the Commission on Gender Bias and the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias. She also chaired the Georgia Commission on Interpreters and the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee. . She is a member of the American Bar Association’s Public Perceptions Committee, the Bleckley Inn of Court, and has served as liaison to the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.
In the course of her career, she has received many honors including an honorary LLD from Stetson University College of Law, a commendation for outstanding service from the Georgia General Assembly, the Emory University Legal Association for Women Students’ Public Service Award, the DeKalb County Women’s Network “Women Who Have Made a Difference” Award, the Joseph T. Tuggle Professionalism Award and, in 1999, the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession’s Margaret Brent Award. Florida Atlantic University has inducted her into its Hall of Fame. She recently received the Commitment to Equality Award from the State Bar of Georgia Committee on Women and Minorities in the Profession.
Justice Hunstein has three children: John F. Abate, Krista Hunstein and Gabrielle Hunstein, two grandsons, Johnny Abate and Daniel Currier Hedges, Jr., and a granddaughter, Jovie Lynn Hedges.