David Davenport

Research Fellow
Biography: 

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. He was a visiting fellow at the Ashbrook Center working on civic education from 2016 to 2018.

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

He has coauthored three books with his colleague Gordon Lloyd: How Public Policy Became War (2019), Rugged Individualism: Dead or Alive? (2017), and The New Deal and Modern American Conservatism: A Defining Rivalry (2013). These books offer distinctive ways of understanding both the current and the historic debates 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’s 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

Analysis and Commentary

Superman, Citizen of the World

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Perhaps you missed Action Comics #900, but Superman has renounced his American citizenship, saying “truth, justice and the American way—it’s not enough anymore.” Now he wants to be a “citizen of the world”...

Analysis and Commentary

Where Government Knows No Limits

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One advantage of living near San Francisco is the chance to see how scary it can be when government runs amok. Consider the most recent case—the ballot proposition being voted on this fall to make circumcision of male babies illegal...

Testimony Submitted to the California Senate Standing Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments on AB 459

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Thursday, June 9, 2011

I write to warn you of dangers and problems associated with AB 459 and to encourage you to vote against it.  I had planned to appear before you but, when your hearing was postponed, I was unable to reschedule my trip to Sacramento.  I am formerly a Distinguished Professor of P

California’s brainstorm state’s political issues

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's hardly news that Californians are frustrated with politics as usual. The budget is billions of dollars out of balance and invariably comes together late, with duct tape and deferral of the real problems.

Analysis and Commentary

Submission to the ICC on Jurisdiction and the Palestinian Declaration

by David Davenport, Kenneth Anderson, Edwin Meese III, Abraham D. Sofaer, Julian G. Kuvia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Here is a letter to Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court...

Analysis and Commentary

Californians brainstorm state's political issues

by David Davenport, Lenny Mendoncavia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's hardly news that Californians are frustrated with politics as usual...But a large part of the problem is the disillusionment and lack of engagement by Californians themselves...Stay tuned, California. The people are about to speak...!

Analysis and Commentary

What Sort of Exceptionalism?

by David Davenportvia Townhall
Thursday, May 26, 2011

President Obama’s foreign policy is confused, in part, because he really doesn’t get American exceptionalism...

Analysis and Commentary

Republicans’ primary choice: The Constitution or the money

by David Davenportvia Washington Times
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

GOP risks its small-government ID by backing federal funds for schools...

Republicans’ primary choice: The Constitution or the money

by David Davenportvia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Perhaps no issue better reveals one of the growing divisions in theRepublican Party than education policy.

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