She represented North Carolina's 117th House district, including constituents in Henderson and Transylvania counties, from late 2002 until 2010, when she declined to run for a fifth term and was succeeded by Chuck McGrady. She is the widow of Larry T. Justus, and served as his clerk during his nine terms in the seat; after he died shortly before the 2002 legislative elections, his name was not removed from the ballot and he received a majority of votes cast, so the local Republican party appointed Carolyn Justus to the empty seat for the new term.
Since retiring from the Assembly, she has served as chair of the Henderson County Heritage Museum.
- "North Carolina manual [serial]".
- Scott Parrott, "Rep. Justus advances to full election", Times-News, Hendersonville, North Carolina), May 3, 2006, p. 4A.
- Mark Johnson, "Justus won't return", Under the Dome, Blogs, The News & Observer, January 15, 2010, archived at the Wayback Machine, March 18, 2012.
- Gary Glancy, "Top 10 stories: Elections bring big changes", BlueRidgeNow.com (Times-News, Hendersonville, North Carolina), December 29, 2010, updated December 30, 2010.
- Nathaniel Axtell, "Former legislator Justus understands history", BlueRidgeNow.com (Times-News, Hendersonville, North Carolina), June 29, 2014.