Atlanta, March 25, 2014 – The Anti-Defamation League honored Justice Carol W. Hunstein Monday with its Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the judicial system and the community.
At its 17th Annual Jurisprudence Luncheon, Justice Hunstein was praised for her life’s work as a fair and independent judge who overcame significant hardships as a child and young woman. She was struck with polio and bone cancer as a little girl and lost her mother while still a child. By her early 20s, she was a young single mother with only a high school education when her cancer recurred and doctors had to amputate part of her leg. Despite many obstacles, she managed to put herself through college and law school. In 1984, she ran for judge in DeKalb County, Georgia, defeating four men to become the first woman elected to DeKalb’s Superior Court. In 1992, then Governor Zell Miller appointed her to the Supreme Court of Georgia, where she became the second woman to serve on the state’s highest court.
The Anti-Defamation League states that its mission is to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.” Justice Hunstein was introduced by Miles Alexander, a partner in the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and a former recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Alexander joked that people often assume Justice Hunstein is Jewish due to her name, but she is not. Using a baseball analogy, he pointed out that unlike other high achievers who were born with significant advantages, Justice Hunstein not only didn’t start at first base, “but she had to crawl over the dugout to get to the playing field.” Alexander spoke of her integrity and independence, her impartiality and respect for all persons who come before her, and her commitment to upholding the rule of law regardless of the consequences.
In accepting the award, Justice Hunstein said she was once asked what she would change about her life if she could alter anything. “After reflection, I decided I would not change one thing,” she said. “Those challenges made me who I am. I’m a tough old girl.”