Photo: Ruth L.  Kovnat

Ruth L.  Kovnat

Professor Emerita


  • A.B. 1959, Bryn Mawr College
  • LL.B. 1967, Southern Methodist University
  • Member of the Pennsylvania Bar

Contact Information


When Ruth Kovnat became a tenure-track professor at Temple University School of Law in 1971, she was the school's first female law professor and among the first wave of female law professors in the nation. Four years later, she joined the faculty at the UNM School of Law. Although she has concentrated her scholarship in Environmental, Constitutional Law, and Federal Jurisdiction, Kovnat has studied and taught a wide range of legal topics and contributes that knowledge to the faculty. In 1999, she became an Emerita professor and now teaches two courses a year.

In addition to teaching, Kovnat served as associate dean for academic affairs from 1991-1994.

She is on the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and is a past member of the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission. She also studied water quality issues in Albuquerque's South Valley as a member of the South Valley Task Force. Kovnat received the Governor's Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women.

Kovnat has published a number of articles on environmental issues and will soon publish a work on environmental regulation in Indian Country.


Courses Previously Taught

  • Civil Procedure I
  • Comparative Constitutional Law: Religious Pluralism
  • Constitutional Law Topics
  • Federal Jurisdiction
  • Introduction to Constitutional Law



Suits against the States: The Changing Law of Immunities, 31 N.M. L. REV. 121 (2001).
Available at: NMLR

Solid Waste Regulation in Indian Country, 21 N.M. L. REV. 121 (1990).
Available at: NMLR

Constitutional Torts and the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, 12 N.M. L. REV. 1 (1983).
Available at: NMLR

Medical Malpractice Legislation in New Mexico, 7 N.M. L. REV. 5 (1976).
Available at: NMLR

Torts: Sovereign and Governmental Immunity in New Mexico, 6 N.M. L. REV. 249 (1976).
Available at: NMLR


Disposal and Transportation Issues under Environmental Regulations-Control and Conflict-The Case of the Waste Isolation Pilot Project, Sandia Laboratories Technical Completion Rep. #WERC89-072 (1991) (co-authored with C. DuMars).

Legal Aspects of Delaware Wasteline, Franklin Institute Science Information Service (1969) (co-authored with E.F. Murphy).

Continuing Labor Law, Section 8(B)(7) of the National Labor Relations Act (1967) (student contributor).

Book Reviews

Mark Squillace, Air Pollution (1988), 28 NAT. RESOURCES J. 883 (1988).
Available at: NRJ

Thomas M. Hoban & Richard O. Brooks, Green Justice, the Environment and the Courts (1987), 27 NAT. RESOURCES J. 757 (1987).
Available at: NRJ

Agent Orange on Trial-Mass Toxic Disasters in the Courts (Peter H. Schuck ed., 1986), 27 NAT. RESOURCES J. 955 (1987).
Available at: NRJ

Law School News