Professor of LawPhone: (410) 706-7437
BA, 1999, Yale University
JD, 2004, University of Virginia
Professor Kovarsky joined the School of Law in 2011. The focus of his teaching and scholarship includes conflicts of law, criminal procedure, federal jurisdiction, habeas corpus, civil procedure, constitutional law, and the death penalty. He co-wrote the Foundation Press case book on Habeas Corpus (2013) (with Brandon L. Garrett), and has published extensively on issues of executive detention and post-conviction review. He is also writing a book on capital punishment with Professor Garrett, due out in 2017. His most recent articles have been published in, among other places, the Virginia Law Review, the Cornell Law Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, and the University of Chicago Law Review (Dialogue). He was voted Most Outstanding Faculty Member in 2015.
Professor Kovarsky remains an active habeas and capital litigator. He regularly represents capital prisoners during federal appellate and Supreme Court review of their sentences, and he has worked on roughly thirty death penalty cases. He has also represented various professional organizations as federal amicus counsel, including the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and the American Bar Association (ABA). He co-wrote the ABA’s Supreme Court Brief in Martinez v. Ryan (2012), the landmark case announcing that a federal court may conduct merits review of certain state sentences if a prisoner’s state post-conviction lawyer was ineffective.
Professor Kovarsky been quoted on death penalty and criminal procedure issues in the Dallas Morning News, The Guardian, The Houston Chronicle, the Nation, the New York Daily News, the New York Times, The New Yorker, Reuters, theGrio, the Texas Tribune, and U.S. News and World Report.
He has appeared as a guest to talk about capital punishment on, among other programs, NPR's Studio360, Democracy Now!, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. He has also published on the death penalty in the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, Salon, and Slate.
Professor Kovarsky joined the School of Law after a three-year appointment as an Acting Assistant Professor at New York University School of Law. Before joining NYU, Professor Kovarsky was a Supreme Court and appellate practitioner in private practice. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Jerry E. Smith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was an Articles Editor for the Virginia Law Review and a John M. Olin Scholar. Prior to law school, he was a Senior Data Analytics Associate at what is now the Microsoft ad-serving platform. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale, earning awards of Academic Distinction in both Political Science and Economics.
Federal Habeas Corpus: Executive Detention and Post-Conviction Litigation (2013) (with Brandon Garrett). [Abstract]
Federal Circuit Practice, in Federal Appellate Practice (2009) (with others).
Beyond Consent: Applying Alter Ego And Arbitration Doctrines To Bind Sovereign Parents, in Multiple Party Actions in Investment Arbitration (2009) (with Rebecca K. Stewart & Timothy J. Tyler).
Prisoners and Habeas Privileges Under the Fourteenth Amendment, 67 Vanderbilt Law Review 609 (2014). [Full Text]
The Habeas Optimist, 81 University of Chicago Law Review Dialogue 108 (2014).
A Constitutional Theory of Habeas Power, 99 Virginia Law Review 753 (2013). [Full Text]
Habeas Verité, 47 Tulsa Law Review 13 (2011) (book review). [Full Text]
Original Habeas Redux, 97 Virginia Law Review 61 (2011). [Full Text]
Death Ineligibility and Habeas Corpus, 95 Cornell Law Review 329 (2010). [Full Text]
AEDPA’s (Imaginary) Purposes: Comity, Finality, and Federalism, 82 Tulane Law Review 443 (2007). [Full Text]
A Technological Theory of the Arms Race, 81 Indiana Law Journal 917 (2006). [Full Text]
Lee Kovarsky of the School of Law was quoted in the story "Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Execution Stays Granted Doubled Last Year" on WFSB-TV
Lee Kovarsky of the School of Law was quoted in the aticle "Texas' Top Criminal Court Gives More Death Row Stays in '15" in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Townhall.com, Metro News, Foxnews.com, KSL-TV, and The Baytown Sun