David Davenport

Counselor to the Director / Research Fellow

David Davenport is a research fellow and director of Washington, DC, Programs at the Hoover Institution. He specializes in international law and treaties, constitutional federalism, and American politics and law.

Davenport is the former president of Pepperdine University (1985–2000). Under his leadership, the university experienced significant growth in quality and reputation. Davenport cofounded Common Sense California and the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership. He also served on the board of California Forward, a major bipartisan reform group, and was a member of Governor Schwarzenegger’s California Performance Review Commission. Davenport is a member of two corporate boards as well.

His work on policy appears in a number of places, including a regular column in Forbes.com and regular radio commentaries on the Salem Radio Network and Townhall.com.

He recently coauthored the book The New Deal and Modern American Conservatism, which explains how the New Deal of the 1930s established the framework for today’s US domestic policy and the ongoing debate between progressives and conservatives.

Davenport has also contributed chapters to Hoover books on values in a free society and legal threats to American values and has authored articles in Policy Review on “The New Diplomacy” and “The Politics of Literacy.” Davenport is a popular public speaker, having served for several years as a world affairs lecturer for Crystal Cruises.

Davenport earned a BA with distinction in international relations from Stanford University and a JD from the University of Kansas School of Law, where he was elected to Order of the Coif and earned national and international awards in moot court competitions.

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Recent Commentary

The White House
Featured Commentary

Suing The President: Why It Sounds Nice But Doesn't Work

by David Davenportvia Forbes.com
Thursday, July 10, 2014

I wish I could say that House Speaker John Boehner’s developing plan to sue President Obama for abuses of executive power is a good idea.  I really do.  The record of such abuse is long and significant, from unilaterally suspending and delaying portions of Obamacare to altering fundamental aspects of immigration law by executive order. 

Hoover fellows testify at congressional hearings
Featured Commentary

Congress Actually Decided The Hobby Lobby Case Decades Ago

by David Davenportvia Forbes.com
Monday, June 30, 2014

You can bet on hand-wringing and outrage about judicial activism and political motives behind the 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case but, in fact, this case was all but decided in 1993 when Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

US Money Ladder
Featured Commentary

Honey, I Shrank The Deficit (But Grew The National Debt)

by David Davenportvia Forbes.com
Friday, April 25, 2014

Dealing with the New Deal

by David Davenport, Gordon Lloydvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 21, 2014

The debate that erupted in the 1930s still presents us with the same fundamental choice: greater liberty, or greater government power?

Social Mobility
Featured Commentary

Inconvenient Truths Should Slow The Income Inequality Bandwagon

by David Davenportvia Forbes.com
Friday, April 11, 2014
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Davenport on the John Batchelor Show: “Hoover was alarmed by the excesses of Roosevelt and the New Deal”

by David Davenportvia John Batchelor Show
Friday, March 14, 2014

Hoover research fellow David Davenport discusses his book The New Deal and Modern American Conservatism: A Defining Rivalry on the John Batchelor Show. Topics include Rousseau and the French Revolution, the 1932 US presidential election, and Herbert Hoover’s ideals.

Featured Commentary

International Criminal Court: 12 Years, $1 Billion, 2 Convictions

by David Davenportvia Forbes.com
Thursday, March 13, 2014

News stories recently reported that the International Criminal Court convicted a Congolese warlord of being an accessory to war crimes and crimes against humanity.   Rarely were readers told that this is only the second conviction obtained in the Court—both of Congolese warlords—after 12 years of the Court’s operation and over [...]