David Davenport

Research Fellow

David Davenport is a research fellow specializing 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. He is also a visiting fellow at the Ashbrook Center (2016).

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.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary


Hamilton Is A Hit On Broadway, But Not In The Classroom

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Friday, January 29, 2016

One of the reported crises of the recent East Coast blizzard was the cancellation of two showings of the hip hop musical “Hamilton,” which is the hottest ticket on Broadway. People who had paid well over face value for tickets had to deal with the probability they would not receive a full refund or find seats again any time soon.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Featured

When College Radicals Obliterate History

by David Davenport, Gordon Lloydvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Suffering from ‘presentism,’ they want to remove vulgar historical figures from their campuses. 


Why Rubio's And Abbott's Constitutional Convention Is A 'No Good Very Bad' Idea

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio and, more recently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott have each proposed calling an Article 5 constitutional convention. If I may borrow from children’s book author Judith Viorst’s description of Alexander’s bad day: This idea is “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad.”

David Davenport

David Davenport: Gay Marriage: Can’t Have It Both Ways

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hoover Institution fellow David Davenport discusses the issue of same sex marriage in Bermuda.

Analysis and Commentary

Why Presidential Debates Are Better In Person Than On TV

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I went to my first presidential debate in person in Las Vegas. Actually I went to two since, if you had a ticket, you were supposed to fill your seat all afternoon and evening for television. And I’m glad I did because now I have several new and different ideas about the race than before.

Analysis and Commentary

David Davenport: There Is No Freedom From Religion

by David Davenportinterview with David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tis the season—not to be jolly, unfortunately, but to debate whether the First Amendment allows Americans to publicly celebrate Christmas.

Analysis and Commentary

San Bernardino Reveals What It Takes To Be President

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Monday, December 7, 2015

It is often said that crisis does not so much develop character as reveal it. When the chips are down, where we turn and how we respond are clear indicators of who we are.


Presentism: The Dangerous Virus Spreading Across College Campuses

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

American college campuses are apparently natural hosts for a variety of intellectual viruses. Now comes the latest: presentism, the idea that we should apply the modern world’s moral sensibilities to judge people and practices of the past. And, if historical characters are found wanting in the judgment of the present, the virus should eradicate their names from the campus.

Analysis and Commentary

A New Era Of Student Protests

by David Davenportvia Forbes
Saturday, November 14, 2015

After 40 years of declining college student interest in political matters, political engagement and protests have returned to campus.

Analysis and Commentary

Davenport: Court Halts Environmental Overreach

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Monday, November 2, 2015

Fortunately, federal courts have been stepping up to challenge President Obama’s overreach of executive powers, whether in recess appointments or immigration policy. Now it’s happening in the environmental field as well.