Former Chief Justice Carol Hunstein is an arbitrator and mediator with more than 40 years of experience. She was appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court in November 1992 by then Governor Zell Miller. Hunstein 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.
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.)
She has three children, John F. Abate, Krista Hunstein and Gabrielle Hunstein, and one grandson, Johnny Abate.